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May 13, 2021

Restaurant Review: Nizza

Nizza is the Italian word for “Nice” (vs. nice). Don’t be confused as the food at Nizza is probably as nice as Nice itself, a city located in Southern France. Why would they give an Italian name to this new Chef Andy D’Amico restaurant? Perhaps because it shares it’s kitchen with D’Amico’s French influenced restaurant Marseille as well as Nizza having a cuisine that’s native to Northern Italy and on the border of France.

The gastronomy of this 65-seat bistro located at 1630 9th Avenue (212-956-1800) in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan, lends itself to the Italian food that you would actually sup at if you were visiting Northern Italy.

I had the opportunity to dine here on a weekend afternoon, when the lunch and brunch menu was the choice. It was a bit too early to take in what I’m told is their extremely extensive wine list and so it’s onto the food.

“Panetteria” listed a “Torta” of swiss chard, raisins, pignolis and hard cooked eggs in a crisp pastry. Not only did it taste great, but I wondered how someone would come up with this combination. Although the imported Prosciutto and Melon was a perfect combination of sweet and salty, it did not come close to their savory Butternut and Leek “Zuppa Gratinee”. If I can’t get the recipe, then perhaps I can settle for finding out what the ingredients are.

Normal “bruschettas” consist of chopped tomatoes and garlic. Nizza’s brunch version has chopped broccoli, avocado, grated provolone, walnuts and one poached egg atop.

Pizzas are personal, but could be shared. The chosen thin-crusted pie had lamb sausage, tomato sauce, fontina cheese and peppers. Perhaps next time I’ll try the Wild Boar Lasagna or a Panini of “Taleggio, Arugula and Fig Marmellata”.

In case you’re wondering, I did share my food and had some room for dessert. Who would ever think of a “pizza” looking dessert tart hat has slices of candied oranges and chocolate chips? The combination of flavors was as good as the pastry itself.

This Thursday’s Whirl With Merle on www.blogtalkradio.com will focus on Italy. I invited Nizza owner Robert Garino to talk further about the cuisine. It appears that I will be going on trip to Naples this year and doing my best to learn a bit of Italian using Rosetta Stone. Don’t expect me to converse as yet. I have some products to talk about as well.

January 31, 2008 - Queens Times


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