In some ways, Gigante is what you’d expect from the owners of classic Italian stalwart Mulino’s of Westchester in White Plains: nattily clad managers and servers with equal parts old-school charm and industry polish, a see-and-be-seen supper club atmosphere (Vanessa Williams, Stephanie Seymour, Joe Girardi, Paul O’Neill, Charles Oakley, Domenick Lombardozzi, and Paul Shaffer, to name a few, have dined there), and a menu that includes Margherita pizza, meatballs, eggplant parm, and penne alla vodka.
But take more than a cursory glance at the offerings and note the kitchen is flexing its culinary muscles beyond Italian standards, toward the Modern American realm: a pizza with butternut squash, house mozzarella, prosciutto, and garlic-chili oil; avocado toast with fried shrimp and watermelon radish; Faroe Island Salmon accompanied by apple purée, fennel, charred cucumber salad, and black quinoa.
Left: Chef Samuel Kim and co-owner Louis Gigante Jr.; right: The dining room at Gigante has hosted a bevy of celebrity diners.
”Mulino’s is a classic, traditional fine-dining Italian restaurant serving items like black linguine with baby lobster tails and veal tartufo,” says Louis Gigante Jr., who co-owns Mulino’s and Gigante with father Louis Sr. “The concept for Gigante, however, is much different, blending Italian roots with Modern American.”
Carrying out Gigante’s food concept with aplomb is Executive Chef Samuel Kim, with an impressive résumé, including previous positions at 1789 Restaurant in DC, and Colicchio & Sons, Per Se, and Jean-Georges in NYC. (Pastry is overseen by chef Stephen Collucci, formerly at Cookshop and Colicchio & Sons). The octopus with chickpea ragù, harissa, and oranges in a chorizo vinaigrette and squid-ink tagliarini with rock shrimp, squid, colorful fresno chilies, and panko breadcrumbs are beautiful, perfectly executed plates that exemplify the restaurant’s Modern American mission.
“The restaurant business is really the entertainment business,” says Gigante Jr. “There’s a live performance every day, and it’s our duty to provide consistent yet unforgettable experiences to our guests day in and day out.”