Novita [Click the photo above to go to Novita’s website]
102 East 22nd Street New York, NY 10010
After an incredibly rough weekend of celebrating my 22 year old sister’s birthday, it was time for me to continue celebrating with a big ass birthday dinner at Novita. I had already tried to keep up with her drinking, and now I had to try and keep up with her eating. Being a big sister is hard!
My mom originally told me that she didn’t care what time dinner was, because neither her or my sister had work the next day (my dad really doesn’t get a say either way), so I made the reservation for 7, figuring that was a normal time to eat dinner. Despite my mother claiming it was “up to me” she still called three times on Sunday to tell me she wanted to go to dinner earlier than originally planned. 6:30 it is (totally up to me).
I ask to get picked up due to the rain, and I wanted a free ride anyway, so they obliged.
“We’ll be there in 5 minutes.”
3 minutes later…
Just as I’m putting on my leather jacket, my phone starts ringing, it’s my sister.
“I KNOW! I GOT THE TEXT!”
I hop in the car to see three other people in leather jackets.
We get to the restaurant, I give them my name, and the host clicks my name on the computer monitor, and begins to scope out a table. Maybe two minutes have gone by…
“What’s the problem?” my mom asks.
He seats us at a table in the middle of the dining area. I have yet to sit at a table a host seats us at with my mother. We always move at least once.
She makes a face, and I know this isn’t working. He offers us another table, but I see that it’s in the corner by the servers, so we’re going to get a permanent breeze by the wait staff swooshing by.
“No, I don’t like that table,” I say (it’s my turn!)
“She doesn’t like this table!” My mom says, as if she did not disapprove of the first option. I’m the difficult one.
The host sees what’s happening here, and offers us a table for 4 against the wall, but not in the corner. Well played.
We sit down, and I immediately smell truffle oil.
“I smell truffle.”
“Yes,” the waitress says, “it’s our pasta special.”
Why did my sister even look at the menu? That was a done deal. My dad offers to get that pasta as an appetizer so we can all share. He then proceeds to cough up a lung. He has a cold. No thanks.
My sister is sitting next to him, gives me a weird look and goes, “but I want it as my main.”
I think I’ll be getting pasta as well, and say that I want the pesto.
“Those are the two best pastas on the menu,” my dad announces. What shall he do?
“Well, you can’t get them, because we are. Get something else.” It hubris in our family to get duplicate orders: how will we get a taste of everyone’s dishes if we all get the same thing???
As my dad contemplates pastas, my mom says she wants salmon, but the pesto I want looks good a well.
“I’ll split the pesto with you if you get a different fish.”
“The sea bass.”
We haven’t really decided on appetizers with exception to my mom who is getting grilled calamari stuffed with shrimp, and sliced like medallions. We listen to the specials, and I hear the word zucchini flowers, which I remember reading as a recommended dish. We order one round for the table, and the waitress asks if we’re ready to order everything.
My sister out of nowhere screams, “I’m not ready! I feel pressure! Stop rushing me!”
Need I remind you that she is already getting spaghetti with truffle (sauce? Truffles? I don’t know the correct way of phrasing it), so she could just order a simple appetizer, but apparently I’m an ass hole and rude for rushing the birthday girl, so the waitress leaves us, so we can all concentrate on the momentous decision ahead of us.
The waitress comes back. I have decided on the funghi misti salad (salad with mushrooms), my dad gets a salad with artichokes and decides on a spinach fettucini with Bolognese, and my sister still hasn’t decided, and asks the waitress to repeat the specials again.
“Blah blah blah blah, and a burrata cheese.” This is how I can assume my sister heard the waitress.
“I’ll get the burrata cheese.”
After ordering burrata cheese and spaghetti, my sister goes on to tell the rest of us that she’s lost weight, and her pants are big on her. I meanwhile already feel guilty for the pesto sauce that I haven’t eaten yet, while my sister’s face is pure joy. Not an ounce of guilt for the carbtastic dairy induced coma she’ll be in later.
The appetizers arrive, and they’re large portions for appetizers. I’m pleasantly surprised to find that the mushrooms are warm on the bed of lettuce.
My sister goes to town on the burrata; my mom scoops up the medallions, and my dad is upset with his “large” salad, and offers me a mushroom off his plate (you do know I ordered a salad with the word funghi in the name right?).
Mains arrive, and my phone freezes causing sheer panic in my heart. My family will never wait for me to take a picture of their food with this delay. In my haste I forgot to take a picture of pasta with pesto, and it still brings a tear to my eye.
Everyone starts scooping portions off their plates, and putting on each other’s bread plate or in sections on their entrée dish. I barely touch the sea bass, and nosh on a cooked artichoke my mom tossed on my plate, but I got to keep the pesto plate so my plate is extra saucy from my mom removing her portion of the pasta, I dig right in.
Ugh, I’m full, so let’s get dessert. What shall we get?
Not one of us like the same type of dessert, but we can all agree on tiramisu.
“It’s going to have a lot of liquor in it. That’s how it is at Italian restaurants,” my mom says (that is incorrect).
I see a crepe cake on the menu, and my mom and I decide that two desserts are ok.
“I don’t want that,” my dad says, but he has his tiramisu so he can pipe down.
“Guys don’t like crepes. All girls like crepes,” I say.
“That’s true. Guys don’t eat crepes or quiches,” my dad says.
“Why not quiches?”
“It’s for chicks.” K.
Both desserts arrive, and of course the tiramisu comes with a candle, and we awkwardly sing “happy birthday” to my sister.
The crepe cake was delicious, and I wish I could keep a bite of it always in my back pocket. I really do love crepes. The tiramisu was yummy as well, but it was not spectacular.
I get my ride home, we take a family picture in our matching jackets, and off I go to watch Real Housewives of New Jersey Reunion.
“I wonder what she’ll write about,” I hear my mom say.
Novita (zucchini flower: stuffed with goat cheese and prosciutto)
SO SO SO SO good! It’s deep fried, but somehow you manage to convince yourself it’s not so bad for you, because it doesn’t taste heavy at all even with cheese melted inside!
My dad originally wanted “a bite” but didn’t get a bite with cheese, so he ended up a taking a whole flower.
Novita (burrata cheese)
My sister’s favorite. She gave me a few bites of it. they serve you balsamic vinegar on the side, and my sister was so excited to eat it, she forgot to put the dressing on!
Also, please note the text message I received after dinner in reference to her meal.
Novita (grilled calamari stuffed with shrimp medallions)
This was a specialty appetizer. It looks so elegant. My mom was in love with this, and was so thrilled with her choice. I split a medallion with my sister. the squid was a bit chewy, but it wasn’t greasy, and a light option.
Novita (insalata di carciofini: baby artichoke with mushrooms and parmigiano shavings)
Large portion of salad. I did not try it, but it seems pretty legit. Sorry that’s all the info I have on it.
Novita (funghi misti: grilled portobello, shiitake and oyster mushrooms with parmigiano shavings)
Pretty large salad for an appetizer! If you want to eat a light dinner, you could get this without the cheese, and I think you’d be pretty satisfied, but when is salad ever as good as spaghetti?
Novita (branzino con carciofi: pan-roasted sea bass with artichokes)
Cooked perfectly from the few bites I had since I was too busy scarfing down pasta!
Novita (pasta with truffles)
This was a special so I am unable to give you a detailed description of the pasta, but it was unreal. Some people are “over” the truffle craze, but they’re idiots. This had just the right amount where it was not overpowering. My sister did not leave one noodle!
Novita (spinach fettuccine with kobe beef bolognese)
A little before and after action on this one. This was really great! I despise when pasta is overcooked, and this was not: it was cooked perfectly!
Novita (mille foglie: 20 crepes layered with a light creamy custard)
A-mah-zing! What’s better than 1 crepe? 20 crepes.
Novita: tiramisu, sister
Here is the tiramisu, and the birthday girl! Delicious! And not too much liquor in it…at all!
Here we are in our matching leather jackets! Took the doorman 20 minutes to figure out how to work my sister’s camera…was it worth the wait? I think maybe.