My problem with Ithaca always was that it’s a great place if you love Asian food, and I mean you really love Asian food. I’m guessing that’s what caused Oishii Bowl to exist at all. Unfortunately, I’m too much of a Jersey boy and thus still have the capacity to really miss the concept of legitimate Italian food.
I went out to dinner with my friend from high school to a place called Novita Bistro and Lounge in the middle of Metuchen. There, I ordered the Pappardelle Bolognese, starting it with their house salad.
The house salad was a mix of spring greens and tomatoes tossed in a vinaigrette and topped with fried onions. The fried onions, which I ordinarily would have expected to go inside a burger, were exactly what the salad needed to save it from becoming yet another boring salad.
Of course, the real stars of the show were the Pappardelle Bolognese and the La Maialina Chianti I had to drink. The Bolognese is exactly what you would expect: strips of ribbon-shaped pasta doused in a bolognese sauce and topped with a little cream.
The pasta was actually the first I have eaten in a long time that was legitimately al dente. The sauce was rather creamy, nicely bringing the flavors of the tomatoes and the ground meats, which were beef, veal, and pork, together. Ordinarily, I’m used to the tomatoes very much overpowering the meat, where the meat is reduced the status of being a texture additive. I think it might help that there was so much of it in this sauce. Overall the sauce was very nicely balanced.
I finished dinner with an affogato al caffe, which is vanilla ice cream swimming in espresso. The ice cream was home made. I did detect a few ice chunks in there, but I’m willing to overlook that. Overall, the vanilla ice cream-meets-espresso flavor reminded me of tiramisu, and it was a perfect way to end dinner tonight.
I’ll be perfectly honest and tell you that this meal was rather expensive. My tab came out to a total of $46; it was the most expensive meal I had in a while. However, as I know it’s not a regular occurrence, I have no regrets of having indulged myself tonight. Novita was the classy Italian dining experience I have been lacking the whole time I’ve been in Ithaca.