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Aug 12, 2008 03:33 PM

[DAL] Nonna

I am going for the first time.

(1) Can I wear jeans?
(2) Anything on the menu I shouldn't miss?


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  1. I have worn jeans, with a decent shirt. Pretty much everything I've had there has been great. In my opinion, you should not waste stomach space on the pizza. It's good (and I know lots of people love it), but the apps and salads and pastas and wood-oven-roasted entrees are much better. If you do get the pizza, I'd recommend the white pizza with clams.

    I would usually recommend their salumi plate, but first ask if it's house-made. I think they shut down their meat curing operation for a little while. If it is house-made, then definitely get it!

    Also, you should get a pasta dish. I think they do that extremely well. If they have it, I really enjoyed the lobster agnolini - served in an intense sauce that was simply reduced lobster stock and olive oil.

    1. Jeans are no problem. I agree, you should definately get a salad and pasta. Everything on the (they are very well versed). We usually split a variety of courses, but get a past course for each of us. I was there a couple of weeks ago and had a whole wheat pasta with Chantrells. It was simple and spectacular. Inquire as to the cocktail of the day. They are usually made with some fresh sqeezed juice of some kind. Enjoy. I think it is one of the best resto's in town, bar none.

      1. I ate at Nonna's last week and was not particularly impressed although the red wine I had was outstanding. I started with a green salad that was not as good as Fireside Pies who I think have exceptional salads. I then followed with the pappardelle with beef ragu and it was nothing special. Of course, I'm not a fan of fresh pasta with a hearty sauce but that's just personal preference.

        Having said that, I would still go back just to drink the wine.

        12 Replies
        1. re: Scagnetti

          I just gotta know: if you aren't a fan of fresh pasta with a hearty sauce why in the world would you order this dish?

          And, I think Nonna is absolutely fabulous--one of the two best Italian restaurants in Texas (Da Marco in Houston being the other).

          1. re: bhoward

            << I just gotta know: if you aren't a fan of fresh pasta with a hearty sauce why in the world would you order this dish?>>

            I'm speculating that ALL of their pasta is fresh and they don't use dried in any of their dishes so did I really have a choice? And at the risk of raining on the Nonna love fest in this thread, based on the price point, I thought the portions were small too.

            1. re: Scagnetti

              I think the portions are just right and I find the price point very reasonable given the quality. We had 4 courses and wine for $130 including tip, which I have no problem with relative to some of the other places in town.

              1. re: Scagnetti

                Scagnetti - of course your dissenting opinion is appreciated and respected. I think you're right that all of their pasta is fresh. But one of the things that I was most impressed with is the variation in texture that they've achieved with different styles of pasta. The tagliatelle that I've had was different from the agnolini, which were different from the buccatini, etc. In fact, the buccatini (carbonara, incidentally) was perfectly cooked - with just a hint of 'bite' left in the center. So, if you do end up at Nonna again, and you want to order a pasta dish instead of something from the wood-fired oven, I'd recommend trying a different type of pasta - maybe you'll find that the things you don't like about fresh pasta are mitigated with a different style. If you don't like a 'hearty sauce', there are plenty of less-hearty choices than bolognese... perhaps the heartiest of all sauces. Maybe something more delicate (maybe lobster agnolini, which are sauced with a simple reduction of lobster stock) would be more to your liking.

                Personally, I like the portion size - it's small enough that you can try a couple of things, and not feel stuffed or take home leftovers. For me, a reasonable dinner there would be an appetizer and a pasta dish - which would run about $30 or so. Of course, wine is extra, so I never get out of there for that little... but it's still a good deal, especially when you consider the quality of ingredients and the time necessary to prepare them. Fresh pasta, house-made salumi, reduced lobster stock, a generous portion of chanterelles on the tagliatelle - these all bring up the price (and the quality).

                1. re: gavlist

                  Well I will go back for no other reason than the wine and try some of the dishes recommended in this thread.

                  I must say, I'm always leary of upscale Italian restos that serve pizza. The two really don't go together.

                  1. re: Scagnetti

                    I always thought so, too, but Nonna's white pizza was very good. We liked the pizza better than the pasta.

                      1. re: J.R.

                        Pizza at its very best comes from a pizzeria and not a high end restaurant. They probably offer it so the kids have something to eat.

                        You won't find pizza at these places: Danielle Osteria, Ferrari's Italian Villa, Mi Piaci, and the departed Alessio's.

                        1. re: Scagnetti

                          this sounds like an arbitrary bias. Why shouldn't good pizza come from any place that has the appropriate equipment (say, a wood-fired oven) and skill?

                          1. re: gavlist

                            I don't know. A lot of it maybe regional. I'm sure some restos don't want to encourage a "pizza" crowd. I bet you'd get quite a response though from posting that question on the Not About Food board.

                  2. re: Scagnetti

                    Hmm. Don't like fresh pasta. Like large portions. Two words--Olive Garden!

                    1. re: bhoward

                      Yeah you're right. I'm a 2nd generation Italian, lived in Europe, grew up in the mostly densely populated Italian-American community in this country so what would I know...

              2. Yes, there are a few things you should not miss. First off, the grilled heart of romaine salad is absolutely divine. I think it's the heartiest of all of their salads, but the pairing of the grilled romaine with avacado and roasted pancetta is delicious. I also agree with what someone else said: the anolini of Maine lobster is so good. Sometimes it rotates and they use gulf shrimp - which I found equally as good. For dessert, please please please order the semifreddo. It is becoming the most well-loved dessert from what I hear, and for good reason: it's heavenly! Praline-nougatine semifreddo with acacia honey...mmm...Italy. (P.s. the pork chop, which I had last week, was out of this world, so there's an offering from the wood oven that you should feel excited for...but everything is usually so delighful.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: Gutchen

                  I second the semifreddo! Absolutely, positively jaw-dropping good.

                2. We had a group of 6 to Nonna on Sat. I've eaten at Nonna probably 10 times now and I will say that IMO, it is the some of the very best cooking in town. We shared 2 pizza's which were 1) Wild Mushroom and 2)pancetta, herb, chili. Both were outstanding. I could not agree more on the grilled romaine and pancetta. I was one of the best salad's I've had in a long time. Several at the table had the arugula and figs salad wich was also very tasty.

                  Most folks had pasta for their main. I again had the Lobster Angolini was again, spectacularly flavorful and light at the same time. They really take the time to reduce the lobster broth to it's true essence. Many of our party had the Lasagna Bolognese. I'm not a huge Lasagne fan, but this was definately the best I've had. It was light and you could taste each separate ingredients. We all split the Nougatine which wasy light and flavorful. Anyway, I just wanted put in my 2 cents again. If you like real Italian inspired cooking, you should give it go.