Man of the Year

East Boston Times 2010 Man of the Year Rino’s Owners and Chef Tony DiCenso inside his kitchen at the restaurant doing what he does best.

Tony DiCenso

He’s arguably the one of the best cooks in Boston and this year his recipes put Rino’s and East Boston officially on the national culinary map.

Rino’s Owners and Chef Tony DiCenso never cuts corners as shown in October when the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives hosted by T.V. personality, cook and restauranteur Guy Fieri featured the Eastie restaurant on he show.

Rino’s and DiCenso represents what Eastie once was but also the future of the neighborhood as a burgeoning destination community for food and culture.

For DiCenso’s efforts to make Rino’s and Eastie a hotspot he is the East Boston Times 2010 Man of the Year.

In October, Rino’s was featured on Drive-Ins and Dives.

The segment showed just how fresh and good Rino’s Owners and Chef Tony DiCenso’s food is. Now everyone knows what we in Eastie have know for 20 years.

DiCenso dazzled Fieri with his homemade lobster raviolis. Fieri was amazed that at the complexity and work it takes for DiCenso to produce the dish.

DiCenso showed how he takes a live main lobster, boils it, removed all the meat from the shell, sautés it with oil and shallots, mixes it with fresh imported ricotta, makes the pasta from scratch and then constructs the delicious raviolis. He then showed Fieri how he takes more lobster meat and develops a silky tomato cream sauce to toss with the raviolis.

All Fieri could say after tasting DiCenso’s signature dish was “This is ridiculous!”.

Fieri called DiCenso the ‘real deal’ and was impressed by how DiCenso shops three times a day at local markets to get his meat, fish and produce and said it’s what sets Rino’s apart from the rest.

Fieri also got to sample some of Rino’s signature dishes like frutti di mare, roasted pork tenderloin encrusted with pistachios and topped with a spicy cherry balsamic reduction and the Rino’s special, a mix of chicken, veal and shrimp sauteed in brandy cream and wild mushrooms.

“You taste just how fresh everything is here,” said Fieri. “It really makes the difference.”

There was also a lot of joking around and each time Fieri asked DiCenso where something came from DiCenso’s reply would be “I go out and pick it myself, fresh, it all has to be fresh”. At one point, when DiCenso was adding a bit of salt to a dish, Fieri joked “let me guess, you mine your own salt!”.

But that is what people have come to expect from DiCenso’s over the years.

Now, tourists and passers by stop to take a picture in front of the restaurant, which has become a quasi Boston landmark.

There are two hour plus waits on the weekends and the popularity of Rino’s has trickled over to other bars and restaurants in Eastie as people wait for their tables to sample some of the dishes that made Rino’s famous.

Like the South End all it took was for one of two restaurants to begin a chain reaction and explode that neighborhood into one of award winning food and popular bistros.

Here in Eastie, DiCenso has lit the fuse.

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