“Good food, but not at this price.”
“I’d rather get fresh pasta at Urbana. Or Vento. Or Sette.”
“We should have gone to Pasta Mia and loaded up on a huge plate of gnocchi.”
— G’s comments on Casa Nonna
In other words, a disappointment. For whatever reason, Casa Nonna did not live up to expectations. It was more expensive than it should have been. The portions were much smaller than I remembered – perhaps a consequence of the newly redone menu? And the combo just left us, well, let down.
We were looking for large plates of pasta for G to carbo load for the traditional pre-race meal. Somewhere casual, somewhere close by where we could eat early, where the food was good, but not pricey. In other words, Casa Nonna. Or as it turned out, not.
I’ll start with the highlight – the appetizer. We ordered a grilled octopus salad which was terrific. It tasted like a deconstructed bloody mary, with sun dried tomatoes, olives, peppers and pungent celery leaves. (Who would have thought to add celery leaves to a salad?) Tender chunks of potato offset the spiciness, and the octopus was grilled to perfection.
Things went downhill from there.
The first thing that struck me about my pasta – the size of the plate. Last time I was there for lunch, I could have sworn the lunch portions were significant. Here, it was a moderate to large appetizer portion – for something like $21. Hmm, not the heaping serving I was expecting, and frankly less than generous considering the price and the competition in the neighborhood.
My pasta – the hand cranked spaghetti – looked good. I took a forkful. Alas, too crunchy for me. I like my pasta chewy, but also mostly cooked, and this was on the other side of al dente. So despite the sausage, which was excellent, and the clams and the olive oil, it was a bleh dish. G’s pasta looked good, and he said it was, but he was similarly dismayed by the small size. “You oversold this place,” he grumbled.
We thought about getting a secondi, but at this point, we had already spent over $100 on our wine, pastas and shared appetizer. Throw good money after bad? We split the canoli, then took off. Too much money for too little food, in a touristy atmosphere with a server who tried to majorly up sell us on the wine (“A great deal for $90” – I’m sure!).
At least a Sweet Green frozen yogurt on the walk home helped restore the equilibrium.