Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Restaurant review: Nonna in Dallas
They have a lovely lobster roll that's worth the $18 price tag.
Nonna only offers lunch each Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., which is frightening for those on a mission to eat every lobster roll in the city. This warning came from the chef at Carbone’s during lunch on Thursday. Having loved everything about Carbone’s, I couldn’t wait to meet Julian Barsotti, the chef and owner of both.
Upon entry, a hostess pulled the “Only one? Just one? Wait. Did you say … one?” Growl. The one-two-hostess-punch arrived as she whispered, “You don’t have a … reservation?”
Ugh. No. No, I do not have a reservation. I am all by myself with no pre-planned seating arrangement. Didn’t even bring an imaginary friend or hide a teacup chihuahua in my purse. Nothing. Hopefully we can soon move on with our lives and eat.
This mini-moment of hostess hostility ended as quickly as it began. After performing the walk-bar-point, she signaled her approval with a menu and a smile. Whew. Could it be? A real-live non-annoying people seater?
This hostess turned out to possess a wealth of knowledge, which can only mean she’s not just the hostess. Any question asked, she answered with an added extra at the end. By the time she left we were practically BFFs. Her goal to help, please, and cause mental ease was greatly appreciated.
With the most recent squash experience at Ketchup Burger Bar, um, there was a bit of hesitation before ordering Nonna's squash appetizer.
Thinly sliced squash was barely cooked, to reduce the raw flavor yet still achieve the expected texture. Beets were marinated with shallots and champagne vinaigrette. Squash carpaccio with baby beets, pecorino, and mint instantly cured previous taste bud torture. Nonna’s squash carpaccio was better than therapy.
Chef Barsotti came out of the kitchen wearing clothes one might see on Andy Roddick before a tennis match at Wimbledon. Extending his right chef hand for a shake, he asked if I was here for the lobster roll. He had previously spoken with the chef from Carbone’s about the quest to have a life-changing lobster roll lunch. He appeared excited to take care of this task, even mentioning the new chips that will arrive on the side.
The sous chef’s details about the Maine lobster roll with celery heart salad and a house aioli roll were majorly minimal: "The Maine lobster roll is very simply treated. Simple." It’s hard to stomach paying $18 for a sandwich during lunch. It hurts. Place this painful price to the side and enjoy: Nonna's is worth every cent.
Wow. Sticky toffee pudding joy! The bartender said this is definitely the best on the menu. Nonna’s dessert menu also includes Mexican chocolate panna cotta, as well as a praline nougatine semifreddo with pistachios and acacia honey.
Although the menu is ever-changing, we can only hope Nonna will never remove the loveliest of all lovely $18 lobster rolls from the menu. Chef Barsotti’s unique cheffing and spot on restaurants have given this Houston transplant … hope.
Pegasus News Content partner - Almost Veggie