Daniel Kent is the honorary mayor of our neighborhood and the friendly face behind the bar at Locanda Vini e Olii. He also happens to live above the restaurant, so if you are looking for him, you can usually find him at the corner of Gates and Cambridge Place in Brooklyn, greeting small children, puppies, the mailman or the local cop on any given afternoon (after his regular early morning surf at Rockaway Beach). Once the sun sets, I strongly suggest you visit Locanda and sample some of Daniel’s homemade liquors, paired down with their impeccable Tuscan cuisine. He brews his own herbal vermouths, a number of bitters, an elderflower liqueur, a walnut liqueur, a seasonal Chinato and a citron liqueur, and he knows a thing or two about wine as well. It was no surprise that he went to the extra length to pair this salad with some craft Japanese beer when I came over.
He also had a few tricks up his sleeve that I have to acknowledge. The use of a Japanese vegetable brush to wash and lightly slough-off vegetable skin was so elegant, I just bought one of my own. And, he made his own concentrated ginger juice by squeezing ginger through a brown paper coffee filter. That’s my kind of life-hack.
Daniel may have found his ideal live/work geo-coordinates, but he has called many-a-place home: born in Japan, raised in Wisconsin, a stint in Indonesia, and most importantly, Florence where he received his Master’s degree in Italian Literature. For those of us who don’t like to leave the neighborhood, we take great pleasure in his cosmopolitan ways, not to mention his generous use of the Italian language.