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Casa Nonna: New Italian for Hell's Kitchen and Theater District » the strong buzz, by andrea strong
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the buzz

“Casa Nonna: New Italian for Hell's Kitchen and Theater District”

There’s a new way to eat at Grandma’s house. Just head to Hell’s Kitchen, where recently opened Casa Nonna attempts to recreate the home cooked Italian experience. Following the success of their DC-based outpost of the same name (which pays homage to the Italian matriarch), ESquared Hospitality, the parent company of BLT Restaurant Group, introduces the Tuscan- and Roman-inspired trattoria to their rapidly growing portfolio.

Casa Nonna is far from a quaint cucina, but a sprawling 200-seat space boasting a generous bar area and two main dining rooms filled with brown leather banquettes, terra cotta floors, and walls adorned with vintage artwork and antique mirrors. At the center of it all is a sleek marble counter Pizza Bar, where you can enjoy a full view of the open kitchen and mosaic-tiled pizza oven.

Chef de Cuisine David Amorelli (formerly of davidburke & donatella) executes an accessible menu of seasonal cuisine. Expect a selection of hot and cold antipasti, such as Sicilian sweet & sour eggplant ($6) and braised mini meatballs in marinara ($11), and daily house made pastas including orecchiette with broccoli raab and fennel sausage ($18) and gnocchi with lobster, chanterelles, pancetta and garlic greens ($28). Entrées of pan fried veal chop ($38) and whole grilled Mediterranean sea bass ($24) reflect traditional Italian favorites, yet Casa Nonna’s savory star seems to be the Neapolitan-style pizzas ($13-16) made from high quality ingredients and wood-fire cooked until piping hot, with a bubbly, charred crust.

For dolci, get sweet on Bomboloni sugar doughnuts soaked in Limoncello, white chocolate Affogato sprinkled with espresso, and an assortment of sorbetti (all $7). The wine list is exclusively Italian and includes 60 selections available by the quartino or bottle ($13-$135), while the cocktail menu offers classics with a twist, such as the CasaNova with Finlandia grapefruit vodka, Aperol, clover honey syrup and fresh orange and lemon juices ($13).

And if granny still hasn’t filled you up, sharing the space next door will be NYC’s second GO Burger location, serving burgers, hot dogs and shakes from a dedicated kiosk.

Open for lunch Monday-Friday 11:30AM-2PM. Dinner is served Monday-Thursday, 5:30PM-10:30PM, Friday-Saturday, 5:30PM-11:30PM and on Sunday from 5:00PM-10PM.

Casa Nonna is located at 310 W. 38th Street (between Eighth and Ninth Aves), 212-736-3000, www.e2hospitality.com/casa-nonna-new-york

—Megan Murphy

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