FrontRunner: Northern Italian Exposure

With Alto (212.308.1099, www.altorestaurant.com), his new 80-seat restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, chef Scott Conant hones in on the multicultural cuisine of northern Italy, where the bordering countries of France, Switzerland, and Austria influence the hearty fare. As with L’Impero, which Conant opened in Manhattan in 2002 to showcase food from across Italy, Alto’s menu changes constantly. Dishes such as roasted pork loin with caramelized cabbage and potato bone-marrow dumplings, as well as a Sacher torte that includes kumquat marmalade and chocolate gelée, pair with wines from Alto’s nearly 1,200-selection list, which features, not surprisingly, Barbera d’Alba and other elixirs from Italy’s north.

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