Growing up in an Italian family, the best Italian food always came from the kitchen of Grandma Gossie. Rarely did I venture to an Italian restaurant because I knew the cuisine could never compare to the deliciousness of Sunday pasta at Grandma’s. Then I went to North Italia.
The chefs and creators of North Italia put the same passion into their pastas and the same pizazz into their pizzas as Grandma Gossie did — and that’s high praise coming from an Italian boy from New York.
The best part of North Italia is that no two days and no two meals need to be the same. Every item on the menu is supreme and every day there is a new delicious favorite made from scratch — like the North Italia chef’s daily pizzas — waiting to be discovered and devoured. During a recent visit, we tried eight different dishes and each one was mouthwateringly excellent.
Here are some of the cannot-miss menu items:
• While most kids’ first spaghetti memories were shaped from “Lady and the Tramp,” mine were shaped by watching my grandmother and great-grandmother use their pasta rollers and loving hands the create spaghetti and meatball memories that are still vivid in my mind. North Italia’s spaghetti and meatballs ($19.50), made with a traditional tomato sauce, basil, olive oil and pecorino, lives up to those childhood memories — and exceeds them.
• Keeping with the movie theme, when you’re tasting North Italia’s bolognese ($23), you can almost taste the same precision Paulie employed in “Goodfellas” when he used the razor blade to cut paper thin slices of garlic to create the perfect dish. In the case of North Italia’s bolognese, precision leads to perfection and you immediately know why it’s the house specialty.
• If you’re not in the mood for pasta (and that’s a sin in my book … I’ll say a prayer for you), the roasted porchetta ($28) will be the best non-pasta dish you’ve ever tasted. The moist boneless pork roast is an Italian culinary tradition, but North Italia takes it to another level. The pork literally melts in your mouth, like a savory bite of cotton candy. It is sublime.
• While you could throw a dart at North Italia’s menu and end up having the best meal of your life, some must-try starters are the white truffle garlic bread ($15) and the arancini ($13.50). For dinner, don’t miss the the pig pizza ($19) with sopressatta, salumi, spicy pepperoni and Italian sausage; butternut squash anolini ($19.50); and the grilled branzino ($31).
In addition the the amazing food, North Italia offers a tempting assortment of wines, beer, and house-made cocktails that give you endless ways to complement your incredible meal.
For me, a plate of the perfect pasta has always be transcendental, even life changing. Great Italian meals make memories. And North Italia is a memory-maker. I guarantee you won’t fuhgetaboutit.