I grew up with a Sicilian Grandmother from Brooklyn and remember Sunday gravy feasts. My neice was a baby living in UK when her greatgrandmother died. I'd love to indulge in nostagia (for me) and great food (for both of us), which, leads me to ask:
Is there a great Italian restaurant we can do Sunday dinner at that is fairly close to midtown (Brooklyn is out of my comfort zone) and that offers traditional Italian immigrant food? I read somewhere about Nonna in UWS but not sure if a) it is still operating and B) is it any good?
The last I heard Nonna is still operating, as of about 6 months ago. It's just alright, but I'm not sure if it's a place to seek out for the quality of food. My familiarity with regional Italian cuisine is shaky to say the least, but for good simple Italian (not region specific!) I have a few recommendations in different areas of NYC. I'm sure that lots of other Chowhounds have many others.
Paola's on 84th and Third Ave. This is a really lovely restaurant, it can be pricey, but the food, the atmosphere and the service are consistently good. www.paolasrestaurant.com
Basilica on 9th Ave between 46th & 47th. It's a small place, but very welcoming, very reasonably priced, and GREAT food. http://www.menupages.com/restaurantdetails.asp?areaid=0&restaurantid=3681&neighborhoodid=0&cuisineid=0
Il Bagatto on E 2nd between Aves A & B is very very good, but at times it can be a bit brash and loud and full of hipsters. Sunday evenings are actually usually very nice there. http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...
If you do decide to give Carmine's a try, it is good to note that the uptown restaurant on 90th and Broadway is much better than the 44th St location. Carmine's is not the best choice for a party of two. They serve family style food, and the portions will feed 4. It's best to go in a large group and share a lot. Personally I have a soft spot in my heart for Carmine's fried calamari, and I used to walk twenty blocks out of my way for a big square of their focaccia. http://www.carminesnyc.com/
It just occurred to me that Tony Di Napoli's might fit the "Sunday gravy feast" bill. http://www.tonysdinapoli.com/