Rustico’s New Executive Chef Creates New Menu

Rustico’s New Executive Chef Creates New Menu

After a 14-year tour of restaurants from Chicago to Las Vegas to Washington, D.C., Steve Mannino has been named Executive Chef of Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s Rustico restaurant. He recently took over that role at the Alexandria Rustico, 827 Slaters Lane.

“I had intended to open my own restaurant in Washington. Then this job opened up and Michael Babin, owner of NRG, suggested that I join them as the executive chef for Rustico,” Mannino said. The next Rustico is scheduled to open in the Ballston area next summer.

“This is the kind of place I like. The wood fire cooking and varied menu suits my tastes,” he said.

Mannino has experienced a wide array of venues since graduating from Hyde Park New York’s American Culinary Institute in 1995. “I originally went to work in Chicago, then to Boston, then to San Francisco, then to Las Vegas, next to Washington D.C., back to Las Vegas, then to Atlantic City, New Jersey, then to Connecticut and eventually here,” Mannino said.

“I learned a lot on my travels. I have incorporated those lessons into my preparations,” he said.

That has been verified by Rustico’s new menu selections. Dinner plates include seafood and meats ranging in price from $14 for the Swordfish Club to $27 for the “21 day aged New York Strip” steak.

There is also a wide array of soups and smalls/salads and antipasti. For those who crave a pizza on a summer night there are nine varieties ranging in price from $13 to $16 with a myriad of extra toppings at $2 additional each. The restaurant’s new fall menu will be unveiled October 1, Mannino announced.

A native of Amsterdam, NY, Mannino originally attended Schenectady New York Community College before entering the Culinary Institute.

“Steve brings remarkable depth and breadth of experience to Rustico. With Jason Asher, as general manager, and Greg Engert, as beer director, we’ve got a great team in place at this restaurant, and Steve’s the consummate team player,” said Babin.

Mannino lives in Leesburg with his wife Debra and their two sons, Sonny, 5, and Frankie, 3. A graduate of Fordham University with a law degree, Debra is in marketing.

Rustico is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until 11.