Nicola Restaurant, Columbus
I'm new to Columbus and looking for a good Italian restaurant. Just found the web site for Nicola Restaurant, which looks promising. Does anyone have any experience there? Is it as good as it sounds from the menu?
I decided not to wait too long for a response, and went ahead and had dinner at Nicola tonight. My quest fir a great (northern) Italian restaurant in Columbus may not be over, but at least I know that there is one serious contender. My wife and I shared a wonderful multicourse dinner. We started with a terrific bottle of Valpolicella Ripasso. just one of the very promising entries on a primarily Italian wine list. We tried two appetizers: the first combined pecorino with pears, walnuts, and acacia honey, and the second had beef carpaccio with arugula and parmigiana. They both followed the classical Italian pattern: start with a few high quality ingredients that go well together, and get out of the way. For the pasta course, we split an order of veal ravioli that was absolutely delicious. (When we go back, I'd be happy to have a simple dinner of salad and the veal ravioli.) There were four very large ravioli, and it was clear that the pasta was freshly made, making it a light start. For the main course, we shared the duck breast with pear risotto. I'd never had a risotto with fruit before; it was a really interesting combination. We finished up with the diplomatica for dessert; this is a twist on the classical Marella Hazan recipe that starts with the rum-and-espresso-soaked sponge cake but tops it with Italian custard and puff pastry. We ended up having a much bigger dinner than we usually would on a Thursday night, but it was worth every calorie! And fortunately there are a lot of other selections on the menu that we want to go back and try on future visits.
I had a solid dining experience there with my spouse during a Dine Originals week a year or so ago; your positive experience makes us think it might be time to revisit the place.