I’ve been to Caffe Nuovo twice, both times for brunch, and to this day I can’t stop raving. Mozz caprese salad with basil pesto and scrambled eggs (and home fries AND toast)… WINNER. It was about time I tried their dinner menu.
Bread: A few small slices of white bread were served in a basket with a side of EVOO. It was a little disappointing but was a decent vehicle to mop up the pasta sauces later in the evening 🙂
Menu: Antipasti, Paste Artigianali (homemade pasta), and Secondi. There were at least 4 items I wanted from the Antipasti section but my heart was already set on the Lobster Ravioli.
Crispy fried tender calamari rings, roasted garlic aioli and hot peppers
This classic app was served on a long dish with a red sauce rather than garlic aioli as the menu stated. I still enjoyed, as it was the right amount of crispy and chewy without being too greasy or oily.
The menu was so full of so many tempting options we couldn’t quite decide what to get, so Benno took matters into his own hands and ordered 3 pastas to share. Each entrée was served in a metal skillet rather than a bowl or dish. I tried a bite or two of each and my favorite was the carbonara; the al dente spaghetti and creamy egg yolk sauce was excellent. The gnocci dumplings themselves weren’t bad but what I really enjoyed was the sauce it came with. I would never personally order the orechiette dish but it certainly was tasty.
Classic spaghetti carbonara egg yolk and pancetta cream, sprinkles of ground pepper & parmesan
Gnocci dumplings with imported mozzarella tomato and basil
Orechiette pasta with broccoli rabe and sweet sausage
Lobster stuffed ravioli pillows in a touch of cream
For my entrée I needed a little one-on-one time so I ordered the lobster ravs all for myself! I’m not sure Caffe Nuovo and I have the same definition of “a touch of cream” – 7 ravioli came in a skillet loaded with cream sauce, chopped asparagus, and chunks of lobster claw. I couldn’t finish the meal but it wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the dish, it was just heavier than I had imagined.
Bathroom: A small one room/one stall restroom with peach colored tiled walls. Nothing too special but it was clean and a good temperature (a lot of restrooms I’ve been in don’t have heat and on a cold night like this one I was happy to be warm and cozy throughout the evening).
Service: I’m not sure if our waiter was new, timid, or just annoyed because we were the only table in the restaurant, but he seemed a little unsure at times. He did a fine job overall but failed to mention their liquor license had expired until after my friends ordered their vodka sodas. Each course came on time, except for Julia’s mussels which didn’t come at all. Thankfully she also ordered the beet & arugula salad. After our meal we each received a complimentary glass of limencello which was a nice gesture.
Overall: I won’t judge on the emptiness of the restaurant because this was the first bitterly cold (and rainy) night of the season. The menu had a lot to choose from in each category and many items caught my eye. Prices were reasonable with most dishes under $20 except for a few Secondi items. I’d recommend for dinner but I strongly urge you to try their brunch first.
The Perfect Bite: The carbonara was delightful but the surprise chunks of lobster claw won me over so the Lobster Ravioli takes the prize.