In NYC, where Italian restaurants have become better, as a group, in comparison to what is served in any Italian city, what do two of the newest additions, Locanda Verde and Maialino, bring to the scene? Locanda Verde has elevated traditional Italian-American food: refined it, located its relationships to the food of Italy, and demonstrated that flavors can be coaxed from the ordinary Italian-American flavors of our childhoods. It’s an appreciation of Italian-American cuisine and a recognition of its place in the kitchen. It’s not a kitsch-like homage to Italy. Similarly, Maialino has a specificity missing in so many other Italian restaurants. Rather than serve “Italian” food, the restaurant focuses on one city and one region: Rome and Campania. By doing so, it might help chefs at other restaurants in town to reconsider their kitchens. Restaurants achieve success through refinement and focus.