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Porchetta Reborn as Carniceria, With Alex Garcia at the Helm

The ghost of Jason Neroni has been banished from Porchetta. The Carroll Gardens restaurant is coming back today as Carniceria, a Latin American steakhouse helmed by Novo and Calle Ocho chef Alex Garcia. Garcia’s menu will center on Uruguayan free-range beef, but he also plans on sophisticated Nuevo Latino appetizers, including oxtail empanadas with tomato escabèche and rosemary Malbec sauce, and a seviche of scallops lightly poached in white wine. “We wanted to change direction and distance ourselves from what happened with Jason,” owner Marco Rivero tells us. Carniceria will be having a soft opening between 7 and 9 p.m. tonight and will formally open this weekend. Earlier: Porchetta Survives the ‘Desperate Chef’

Porchetta Survives the ‘Desperate Chef’

The rumors of Porchetta’s demise were premature. Jason Neroni, infamous first for lobbying for a Beard Award and then for forging his employer’s name on checks, was thought to have brought the whole operation down, but owner Marco Rivero tells us that the new kitchen head is as good as hired and should be signing a contract in the next day or so. He projects that the restaurant will reopen on May 7 with a new menu and a new lease on life. Neroni, meanwhile, lurks in the shadows … Earlier: Neroni Signed His Own Checks and Is Back on the Street for Now, Source Claims Porchetta Owners Claim Neroni Forged Their Signature

Porchetta Owners Claim Neroni Forged Their Signature

More info is filtering in on the Neroni Affair. Steven Hall, who has taken on the role of Neroni’s defender, passes along an admission from the Desperate Chef that, yes, he was fingerprinted, but that he was neither arrested nor Mirandized; authorities merely took a Polaroid of him, not the infamous mug shot. Neroni has affirmed that he often signed Marco Rivero’s name to checks with the owner’s permission, but Rivero’s wife and business partner, Shannon, denies this. “Jason signed his last two paychecks when he thought he was going to be fired, to make sure he got the money coming to him. Prior to that, of course not. I don’t know anybody that would let an employee do that.” Shannon reiterates that although she and her husband have no desire to hurt Neroni or, worse, get caught in an endless tabloid story, they have no intention of dropping the charges. Earlier: Jason Neroni Arrested, Taken Into Custody Neroni Is Indeed Free — for a Few Days, Anyway

Neroni Signed His Own Checks and Is Back on the Street for Now, Source Claims

Some possible clarification on the arrest of ex-Porchetta chef Jason Neroni for larceny has come our way, courtesy of the restaurant's former publicist Steve Hall. According to Hall, Neroni claims that he merely signed his own check, something he has done many times. But owner Marco Rivero doesn’t see it that way, hence Neroni’s arrest for petit larceny. Neroni has, Hall claims, been released from custody. However, as Hall's full letter indicates, the Neroni saga is far from over.

Neroni Is Indeed Free — for a Few Days, Anyway

Jason Neroni says he’s innocent of the charges leveled at him by the owner of Porchetta, Marco Rivero — he accused the Desperate Chef of misappropriation of funds and said there was a warrant out for his arrest — and earlier today Gawker confirmed that no such warrant exists. Here’s the latest: “I just came back from the police,” Rivero tells us, “and they said it takes a few days before the warrant can go into effect. The detectives want to check into something with both banks … but I don’t want to say too much.” We’ll see if the police report actually surfaces. We hope Neroni is planning his defense and not any more press releases. Rivero sounds like he means business. Jason Neroni Considering Action Against Former Employer [Gawker]