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October 20th, 2010 CHRIS STAMM | Food Reviews & Stories
 

Nostrana: Restaurant Guide 2010

     
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Lunch 11:30 am-2 pm Monday-Friday, dinner 5-10 pm Sunday-Thursday and 5-11 pm Friday-Saturday. $$ Moderate.
[HOMEY ITALIAN] Nostrana’s umber hues, arched ceiling and crosshatched rafters give one the discombobulating sensation of sitting upside-down in a ship’s hull, but there’s nothing topsy-turvy about chef Cathy Whims’ humble Italian cuisine. The dizzying dimensions fade into a peripheral haze as soon as the food arrives, when you are once again bound by gravity or, if you subscribe to a certain radical philosophy that holds pizza to be the attractive force that makes the world go ’round, finally restored to balance by a wood-fired pie with a perfectly charred crust and a super-thin center that skirts sogginess entirely. Righted now, it’s time to explore: A flight of small plates features fava-bean bruschetta with a silky wisp of prosciutto, a morsel we should, if ever the need arises, serve to alien visitors if they ask why earthlings are so enamored of meat-and-bread combinations. The Insalata Nostrana, basically a Caesar with radicchio subbing for romaine, is a bit heavy on the dairy, but the rotisserie chicken nails the cheese-to-everything else ratio just right, with a ricotta and pesto stuffing acting as buffer between skin and meat. Don’t let the space intimidate you—it’ll feel like home soon enough. CHRIS STAMM.
Ideal meal: Fava-bean bruschetta, margherita pizza, rotisserie chicken, housemade gelato.
Best deal: Go for “meatball Monday” and get a pizza with pork meatballs, ricotta, red onion and provolone ($14).
Chef’s choice: “My favorite item on our menu is the Farmhouse Dinners we serve Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. For $25 you can have a rustic yet elegant three-course meal.” (Cathy Whims)

 
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