Bella Napoli

August 21, 2010

R and I decided to have lunch at Bella Napoli Pizzeria in  Edgehill village. The folks at Valentino’s on West End opened Bella Napoli this August, building on Nashville’s wave of Italian wood-fired pizza, following the likes of City House and Porta Via.  Bella Napoli is a great addition to the 12th south, Belmont, Vandy neighborhood, and to the Nashville pizza scene. The pizzeria has a large dining room and roomy outdoor seating area, with just-delivered patio furniture. I ordered the Margherita Pizza ($9). The crust was thin and crispy on the edges and the tomato sauce was tart and flavorful, not like the overly sweet sauce in American pizza. My only complaint was the sad piece of basil, wilted and brown on the corner of the pizza. I am looking forward to eating the left overs for breakfast. R had the San Gennaro panini with a healthy portion of prosciutto crudo, mozzarella, and marinated egg plant ($10). The flavors on the sandwich were great, and the eggplant was a real standout. R noted that bread was especially delicious. The side salad, mostly colorless pieces of lettuce, and the chips were a real miss. I think they should just serve the sandwich on its own. It is quite substantial.

While the place is great for lunch I think it needs to work on its atmosphere to attract dinner patrons. Also, while we were there “That’s Amore” was on repeat.

Bella Napoli on Urbanspoon

City House

March 25, 2010

1222 4th Ave N
Nashville, TN 37208
(Germantown)
615.736.5838

Last week I returned to City House with some friends, while my better half was off eating in Asia. The Pickled and Fried team had gone to CH when it first opened and never returned. It was finally time to give City House a second chance. The place has a sense of urban cool that is lacking in Nashville restaurants , despite the bright but environmentally sound lights. We started  dinner with cocktails, two Sazeracs $9 and one “The C.C.” $10. “The C.C.,” a surprising mix of Absinthe, Prosecco, and orange zest, was delicious but would have been better as an after-dinner  drink. The anise flavor tends to coat the tongue and not relent throughout the meal. I started with the  little neck clams and cauliflower dish $11. I am not the biggest cauliflower fan, but the texture and taste of the cauliflower blended nicely with the white wine sauce. These were some of the best clams I’ve had in a long time.  Ggg had the potatoes and gorgonzola $9, which were tasty, and El had the radicchio and sweet potato salad $7, with butternut squash instead of potatoes. The squash and radicchio didn’t make the best pair. My main course was the Margherita pizza with pork belly $9. The belly ham could have been crispier, but the pizza crust and sauce were perfect.

I made a point of asking them to hold the salt. If you talk to anyone in the know about City House, you’ll learn the chef is heavy with the salt. Best to safeguard against the extra salt with a direct request.  Ggg’s Painted Hills brisket $24 was far too salty and nothing special. El’s special pasta with beef ragu was light and delicious. By far the weakest dish was the Cruze’s Chocolate Milk Panna Cotta with Cocoa Crispy Rice & Almond Granola $7. It tasted like a bland breakfast concoction of chocolate milk and cereal. I’ll keep going back to City House. Its one of the few places in town to get an excellent pizza and sophisticated Italian fare. These ambitions are definitely worth supporting.

City House, if you are reading this, enough with the salt!

City House on Urbanspoon

Late-Night Italian

December 29, 2009

We took the 7 p.m. train from Philly to NYC.  After dropping off our bags, we had an errand to run in the Village.  Blistering hunger set in, and we needed dinner.  Our first option was closed for health violations–not a good sign, and our other choices were closing when we arrived.  We stumbled upon Bleeker’s Trattoria Pesce Pasta, which specializes in northern Italian cuisine.  The straw Chianti bottles and iced fish in the windows seemed a bit kitschy.  But the food was quite different.  We split a Caesar salad that had just the right hint of anchovy flavoring to punctuate the greens, but not overpower them.  Ahs ordered the spaghetti and meatballs–a classic that only good restaurant really do well.  Ahs thought the meatballs were too mealy, though I liked their texture and taste.  I got the suggested pasta special of the day, fettuccine mare monte, a combination of pasta, portobello mushrooms, and shrimp in pink sauce.  The delicate sauce brought out the smoky taste and aroma of the mushrooms, and the shrimp, fresh and not-overcooked, complimented the dish well.  We were the last diners, and the staff (who were not speaking Italian, but perhaps Ukranian) patiently waited for us, while remaining attentive.  Good random find.  We needed such a meal to battle the cold and the subway ride home.

Now: thinking about lunch options