On the border of the Theatre and Garment Districts you will find a spacious restaurant with several dining areas, a lounge, and an open kitchen under the direction of Executive Chef Kenneth Tufo, who has worked with the likes of Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Big round tables made from polished wood wine barrels have built-in Lazy Susans to allow families and groups to share plates of cured meats, cheese, bruschetta, and mixed olives as they would at Grandma's house, which is what Casa Nonna means.
The batter in the Fritto Misto appetizer is mixed with seltzer to give the resulting deep-fried calamari and vegetables a light and crunchy deliciousness. Grilled Octopus Salad with potato, celery, black olives and a lemony sauce is kicked up a notch with a pinch of cayenne. A pasta entrée, Stracci 24 with Rags (pasta sheets torn into random pieces) tossed with braised beef short ribs in a rich tomato and wine sauce, is a warm and comforting dish that deserves its role as house favorite. Spaghetti Carbonara, an Italian classic, has a peppery intensity with Guanciale (jowl bacon), eggs, English peas and Parmesan. Grilled Wild Boar Chop with broccoli rabe and chocolate wild boar sauce is a temptation, too.
A $35 pre-theatre menu provides three courses, and each month a different region of Italy is celebrated with four courses for $44. Whenever you go, Chef Tufo will have some daily surprise dish that will be bonissimo! Lunch Monday to Friday 11:30am to 2pm; dinner daily from 5pm to 10:30pm; later on Saturday, earlier on Sunday. -- Marian Betancourt