Nonna owner and chef Julian Barsotti Kevin Marple

Restaurant Review: Nonna

Chef Julian Barsotti offers a new take on fine Italian dining every day.

The waiter handed me a single sheet of brown paper. Across the top it read: Autumn Menu, November 14, 2013. Two words—white truffles—jumped from the page. Fifteen minutes later, one of the most glorious plates of food I’ve ever eaten was placed before me. Soft, almost runny, scrambled eggs rested on a warm fonduta valdostana rich with melted fontina, milk, eggs, and truffles. Shavings of pale cream and brown marbled truffles adorned the top. It wasn’t much to look at, and the texture resembled baby food, but the earthy, buttery, and nutty combination of flavors left me feeling giddy. Owner/chef Julian Barsotti has captured the essence of fine Italian cooking and he doesn’t need truffles to prove his prowess. The menu changes daily, which is good news for lovers of fresh pasta. Barsotti features at least 10 nightly. Double lucky for me when I discovered my favorite—pici—on the same menu. The long, thick spaghetti noodles were simply tossed with fresh tomatoes, guanciale (cured pork jowl), crushed red peppers, and flecks of sharp pecorino. Gnocchi, mixed with an intricate lamb Bolognese, was deeply satisfying, as was the quail wrapped in porchetta and served on watery (in a good way) mashed red potatoes studded with brown beech mushrooms. And the all-Italian wine list is affordable.

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