Cowboy Culture In the Big Apple

The latest food craze in New York City is American. Wild West American.

The newest emporium of such fare is Maremma. If that sounds Italian, it is. Let us explain.

The region called Maremma is an area of Tuscany where a lot of "spaghetti westerns" -- those Italian-made U.S. western movies that helped spring Clint Eastwood to stardom, for example -- were shot. The restaurant called Maremma, located at 228 West 10th St., is owned by chef Cesare Casella. It has a western theme despite the Italian influences.

Movies and western dining seem to be going hand in hand here. Movie director Bob Giraldi, who has a longtime business relationship with restaurant owner/chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is opening two new restaurants this year. One is Diablo Royale at 189 West 10th St., near Maremma. It has a modern Mexican menu and a Wild West saloon motif. In addition to adobo ribs, roast chicken and whole fish, oversize tacos are quite popular, stuffed with traditional fish, pork, chicken, or steak. (Giraldi is staying mum on the theme of his pther new enterprise at the moment.)

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