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Novitá

February 11, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

This morning, I read Sam Sifton’s review in yesterday’s NYT of the Manhattan restaurant Novitá. Boy was I tempted to head to the airport, get on a plane, and dine there tonight. I’ll have to wait a little longer, but I’ll be thinking about it.

Sifton describes Novitá in the opening sentences as “a perfect neighborhood trattoria” with “excellent pasta.” That sounds good already, but only abstractly. Then come the details. For instance:

A plate of gramigna alla carbonara, for instance, thin strands of curled pasta with eggs, pecorino romano, guanciale and black pepper, arrives on the table as a riot of simplicity, a four-member noise band. It is outstanding, firm and pliant, salty and sweet, slick and sticky and rich.

Or:

You might try a bright and floral pesto over the long cavatelli pasta known as strozzapreti, or priest chokers, studded with pine nuts and salted with Parmesan. Or a plain penne with roasted tomatoes, basil and mozzarella that tastes of triangular perfection, summer on a midwinter plate. Black spaghettini with mixed seafood and a spicy tomato sauce is worth a mini-fad in itself, with pasta that is toothsome and a sauce made rich with lobster.

Three more: little ears of orecchiette with spicy sausage and broccoli rabe in tomato sauce; papparadelle with lamb ragù and earthy porcini mushrooms; rigatoni with seared tuna, black olives, tomatoes and oregano. These are like postcards from an Italy of the mind, color swatches to recolor your world.

If there’s room after the pasta, I could move on to

a splendid veal Milanese with rucola and tomates, crisp and juicy, the sort of dish you could eat once a week, and a rolled chicken breast stuffed with spinach and prosciutto that revives confidence in both chicken breasts and stuffing them.

Maybe I’ll take JetBlue’s redeye tonight.

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