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Apr 4, 2004 07:34 PM

Novo Latin Fine Cuisine (Jackson Heights)

  • j

Novo Latin Fine Cuisine (78-23 37th Avenue; 718-426-7272) lived up to its name in our first visit this Saturday.

We started with fried calamari, which was served on a nice bed of salad and was good. I had the red snapper special, and my wife had the shrimp with garlic. Everything was very fresh and handsomely presented. We ended with flan (excellent) and coffee, and we had two glasses of wine (a good Chardonnay) and two mojitos (nice, but light on the rum). Total tab (before tip) was $90.

This is a friendly neighborhood-y sort of place, a nice addition to the mix in Jackson Heights. Weekend nights there's live jazz--last night a guitarist who sounded great to us. There were several well behaved children in the crowd, but it was mostly stylish (in a mellow sort of way) young couples and groups (including two celebrating birthdays). Very diverse.

I don't know if this is the same owner who has experimented with several different concepts in the space--in any case, hopefully this one will stick.


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  1. These are actually new owners--I believe a group of 4 or 5 guys. The latest incarnation of this previously doomed location seems to be doing well. My parents, who live in the area, have quickly become regulars, and they say the place is busy every time they go.

    I haven't had dinner there yet, but I did have an excellent brunch there a few Sundays ago. The banana pancakes have a lovely latin flair--they are topped with a nice mix of warm sliced bananas, mangoes and pineapples, and just the right amount of a fresh-tasting, not too sweet strawberry syrup. Very yum.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Stefanie

      The food is good. The decor could use (alot) of work. No one in Jackson Heights seems to know anything about the right kind of ambiance to attract higher paying customers. Yes, they do exist in this neighborhood. I've been there many times and have never been disappointed by the food. I just wish they would renovate and get new furniture.

      1. re: spanishfish

        I agree. I am not into the atmosphere. One night, we came in, and they had the music up so loud that we seriously could not talk at all.

        The food was only so-so. If the atmosphere were better, I'd be fine with so-so.

    2. This review is based on several visits. The last was the worst.
      The manager is bad. His aloofness to customers and conditions is notorious. If he knows you – he will take care of you, otherwise he will treat you as a wall. He doesn’t greet you, never comes to your table to ask how things are. He does nothing but chats with his buddies at their table or outside.
      We came for dinner on Friday evening and were “greeted” by a grumpy overworked waitress. Meanwhile the manager was chatting with a group of middle-aged men at their table. Manager was standing between their table and bar stools blocking the way. Despite of excusemes manager did not bother to move an inch and we had to force our way in.
      He was the worst dressed employee wearing a washed out light blue t-short looking like he just got out of bed. This signifies that he has no desire to represent this place or make it any good. Or, may be, the place is how he is dressed and how he treats the customers.
      The waitress was running like crazy while the manager was doing nothing when the place was not ready. He tried to give her orders in between chats and sittings at his buddies’ table. She brushed him off.
      The empty tables (including our) were only partially ready. Our table had only one glass, paper napkins and knives and no forks. Even when food came they did not bother to provide forks until we asked for them.
      Waitress asked if we were ready to order without asking if we wanted any drinks.
      We ordered mixed ceviche and beef carnitas for appetizers. It took quite awhile for the appetizers to arrive. Carnitas came cold; ceviche - way over salted. Was it fresh?
      For main course we had stuffed chicken breast and filet minion au pouvre. Food came just warm. Chicken was rubbery and dry. Filet minion (although ordered as medium) was almost well done, meat was flaky and rough rising questions about freshness and the method of storage.
      The bill ran to $97 for two.

      5 Replies
      1. re: andmig

        A few weeks ago I ordered the Cerviche to take home. I got home took one look and a few bites and threw it out. Beyond Awful. This is the only food experience I've had with Novo. I understand the Burgers served at the bar are good and the 4 - 6 PM cocktail period is a bargain. I've heard good reviews about Texas Grill (formerly Luigi's) on 37th & 84th St.

        1. re: Mike V

          The wife and I were at Novo a few weeks ago. We had the mixed ceviche special and cheese and spinach empanadas to start, which were both very good. Then the meal went downward from there: I had the churrascaria and the wife had the salmon as an entree. The steak was oversalted and just did not taste like a good piece of steak. I asked for it medium-rare, it came almost medium-well and dry as a result. The salmon was also over-cooked and dry. The service overall was subpar, you couldn't get a waiter's attention if your life depended on it. I was pegging that it was just an overly busy night and am willing to give it a second chance. There were also a lot of young kids (under 12) there, and not that I have a problem with it, it just didn't go with the atmosphere of the place (loungy/bar sort of place).

          1. re: mepm231

            mepm231. Neighbors who are South American will only dine at LaFusta for both Salmon & Steaks. I was surprised by the Salmon since it's an Argentinian Steak House but they say it's the best. Plus the experienced waitstaff at LaFusta is first rate. Why settle for less. It's just a 10 minute walk to LaFusta from Nova.

              1. re: Jim P

                LaFusta is on Baxter St across from Elmhurst General Hospital Emergency Room close to the #7 82nd St stop.