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Gino Cammarata, Gelato King

No more tanning salons for Bay Ridge's foremost dessert provider

So Gino did what many New Yorkers priced out of Manhattan did before him—he moved to Brooklyn. (Actually, he already lived in Bensonhurst.) He and his trusty gelato machine set up in an unlikely location: a tanning salon in Bensonhurst, selling gelato from a small window. But then he found a proper spot on Fourth Avenue and Marine Avenue in Bay Ridge, and he and Enzo decided to give it another go.

At Piattini, the gelato machine is ensconced in the back, behind a small freezer display case holding the lovely green pistachio confection, the nut-dotted hazelnut, the licorice, and the blood orange–almond milk. On the handsome wooden tables and chairs, diners slurp up the Sicilian classic—bucatina with sardines, raisins, and cauliflower—and crunch on the small fried polpettes that Maria taught Gino how to make, in salt cod or squash-and-pistachio versions. Actually, Maria still likes to putter around, and sometimes takes the bus from Bensonhurst to fry up cartocci (fried shells), which Gino fills with shrimp and mascarpone.

I wished Gino luck as I headed out the door—and meant it. He replied that business was "beautiful." "You should see the Verrazano Bridge at night!" he exclaimed. "It's kinky!" Silence. "Not kinky! What do you say? Funky! It's funky!"

sdigregorio@villagevoice.com

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