The brothers Valle may be from El Salvador, but they feel most comfortable dishing Italian.
This week, the family added Casa di Fratelli to its growing cadre of classic Italian-style restaurants in the old Ayhan’s Shish Kebab spot on Old Country Road in Westbury.
As the story goes, the eldest Emilio Valle immigrated to New York first, about 25 years ago, and landed a dishwashing job at La Ginestra in Glen Cove, where he spent 10 years working his way through the kitchen before leaving to fine-tune his craft in other restaurants.
Five more brothers followed, each landing in Italian restaurants where they started as dishwashers, “the bottom of Italian restaurants,” before moving through the kitchen brigade, Giovanni Valle said.
“We all started at Italian,” he said. “That was part of our school, and that’s why we feel more comfortable than our own cuisine.”
A few years ago, Emilio Valle opened Emilio’s in Huntington Station, which has since changed it’s name to Milito’s. He runs the spot with one brother.
Giovanni and Carlos, who worked with Emilio, recently teamed up with another brother, Adelso, to launch Casa di Fratelli, featuring much of the same Italian fare they have been cooking throughout their careers: baby artichokes are sauteed with garlic, basil and olive oil ($11.95), and pastas including a cavatelli forestiera with sauteed mushrooms, shallots and prosciutto in a Marsala sauce with mascarpone cheese ($19.95).
A sixth brother, Moris, works as a personal chef. The seventh is following a different path, studying to be a doctor back in El Salvador.
“He is the smart one,” Giovanni said. “We have been working to support him. Hopefully, one day he will come over and start his own practice. We have gotten fat bellies eating pasta.”
477 Old Country Rd., Westbury, 516-385-3700, casadifratelli.com