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Restaurant Reviews: Novita Wine Bar & Trattoria, Garden City New York

Written by restaurants  |  29. August 2006

BY RICHARD JAY SCHOLEM As seen in Long Island Pulse Magazine, syndicated with Publisher's Permission. NOVITA WINE BAR & Trattoria, in Garden City, wants to say "today, hip, modern, current, with it." It succeeds by touching all the contemporary bases. The wait staff is clothed in fashionable black, one hundred wines are available by the glass, the warm, crusty, porous bread arrives in a brown paper bag accompanied by extra virgin olive oil and menus come on a clipboard. Novita's look is more of the same. This sleek, sophisticated spot sports hanging cylinder lighting over the bar, black floors, a long back-lighted bar, large drum-like lighting fixtures over mahogany leather half-moon shaped booths, a high, black industrial style ceiling, bare white resin tables, candles, and patio dining. The dishes conform to the dcor with popular cutting edge ingredients like Gorgonzola figs, wild boar bacon, polenta crusted calamari, wild arugula, sundried tomato herb butter, pancetta roasted rabbit and cappuccino white chocolate swirl gelato. While most of these imaginative, even exotic items are intelligently used in various dishes, the single most outstanding dish sampled was a widely seen old favorite... pizza. Not any old pizza, but a very thin-crusted meatball-variety (delicate slices, not round chunks) bursting with the flavors of very fresh mozzarella, admirable crust and robust ragu. Other successful starters sampled were an inspired arugula salad powered by ripe, roasted peaches, prosciutto and mellow white beans, six rice balls studded with forest mushrooms accompanied by a rousing spicy red pepper coulis and roasted garlic chickpea puree. A wild boar bacon and egg bruschetta, with sundried tomato pesto, did not feature the usual olive oil brushed bread. That's just as well. Had the rubbery, almost impenetrable bread been the focus of the dish, it would have been a failure. Instead, the savory, minced bacon and runny egg yolk that infused it was delicious. Among the noteworthy entrees were the tasty, innovative, though slightly dry, pancetta wrapped roasted rabbit with crisp, toasted spaetzle, mushrooms, Swiss chard and moist, smoky wild boar sausage and a fresh, interesting monkfish saltimbocca concoction with mushrooms, roasted potatoes and sauted spinach. A standard al dente cavatelli crumbled sausage pasta dish neither delighted nor disappointed. Spotless performances were turned in by both the alert wait staff and all the desserts. Servers were always on the spot when needed and were knowledgeable about the menu and its ingredients. It's difficult to go wrong when ordering sweets. Try the strawberry shortcake with plenty of whipped cream, fresh berries, lemon, balsamic and basil. The jumbo circular profiterole, with any two gelato choices, (keep it simple, go for the chocolate and vanilla) and the warm donut-like zeppole, with a subtle touch of cinnamon and chocolate Porto and raspberry dipping sauces. Novita Wine Bar & Trattoria 860 Franklin Avenue Garden City, New York 11530 516-739-7660 -------------

As seen in Long Island Pulse Magazine, syndicated with Publisher's Permission.

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