Tagliolini with Salsa Segreto. Secret Sauce? Shhhh!!! We lost our beloved Old-School Italian Red-Sauce Joint Gino’s of Lexington Avenue a couple years back. Gino’s opened in 1945 by Neapolitan Immigrant Gino Circicello, was a Gem of a Restaurant loved by its many loyal customers who kept the place packed and vibrant night-after-night, year-after-year. The place was perfect; Great Food and good wine at reasonable prices coupled with excellent service by friendly attentive waiters inside a homey comfy dining-room that everyone loved, from its cozy little Bar at the front of the restaurant, its Phone Booth (one of the last surviving in New York), and the famed Scalamandre Zebra Wallpaper that is as much a part of Gino’s as the tenured old waiters, the Phone Booth, and the popular Chicken Parmigiano.
Among all the tasty pasta dishes, the Pasta with Salsa Segreta, (Segreto) “The Secret Sauce,” was a perennial favorite at Gino’s. All of Gino’s legendary clientele loved it. Some of the clients just happened to be, people like; Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and Joe DiMaggio, to name a few of a large string of luminaries to grace Gino’s over the years. Gino’s had many wonderful dishes that were soul satisfy, unpretentious, and tasty as heck. They were all the usual suspects of Italian Red-Sauce Joints everywhere; from Baked Clams Areganata, to Shrimp Cocktail, to Spaghetti With Clam Sauce, Lasagna, the famed Veal Pamigiano, “the entire menu.” I used to go to Gino’s with my cousin Joe quite a bit. My sister Barbara came a couple times, as did my brother Michael. But it was usually me and Cousin Joe, and if anyone else was tagging along as well. Now I love my pasta as all good Italian-Americans do, but my cousin Joe? He had me beat. The guy loves his pasta, and wanted it practically every day. I believe we tried the Salsa Segreta (Secret Sauce) on our first trip there. I think with Tagliolini, but you can have it with Spaghetti, Rigatoni or whichever pasta you like. Well we loved it from the very first, and would get it every time we went. Often we’d get Baked Clams and Shrimp Cocktail to start, followed by a Half Portion each of Tagliolini with Salsa Segreto, and as our main we might split a Veal Milanese with a “Nice Bottle of Chianti.” We’d finish the meal with Espresso and a couple of Desserts, maybe a Tiramisu and a Chocolate Tartufo.
So the Secret Sauce, what’s in it, you want to know? Yes I identified the Secret ingredients one day, I made it, and it tastes exactly the same, and that’s as tasty as can possibly be, a 10 out of 10, you can’t get any better. It’s quite simple and you’d be amazed, but that’s the essence of all Italian Cooking, simply tasty. The Secret of The Secret Sauce is, “I shouldn’t tell you but I will.” I should be charging you $100 just for this one recipe but I won’t. “I hope you know what a bargain you people are all getting; my Sunday Sauce, Clemenza’s Sunday Sauce, my Lentil Soup recipe, Marinara Sauce, my famed Bolognese and more. I’m getting robbed here!” But here you go, The Secret-Ingredients in the Secret Sauce from the former Gino’s Restaurant on Lexington Avenue across from Bloomingdales are _ _ _ _ _ _ _ and _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ added to a simple tomato sauce. That’s it! Basta ! The Cat is out of the Bag. Enjoy! Are you Happy? “You better be!”
Excerpted from SUNDAY SAUCE by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
The RECIPE and "SECRET INGREDIENTS"
For SALSA SEGRETA "GINO'S SECRET SAUCE are in SUNDAY SAUCE
by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
The FORMER GINO'S
On Lexington Avenue, New York, NY
NOW SADLY CLOSED
The Recipe for The SALSA SEGRETA LIVES ON
GINO'S Was A FAVORITE