Nuovo Bistro offers a fresh and delectable taste on Italian staples
Two years ago one of Edmonton’s deli favourites, Dovetail Delicatessen, closed its doors on the 124th Street location and made way for Nuovo Bistro, a traditional Italian restaurant that capitalizes on fresh ingredients. Around the time of its opening, Nuovo received some mixed reviews from various media using phrases like “needs to try harder,” or “dull food.”
Maybe the reviewers lacked taste buds, or maybe the restaurant actually had a rocky start, because my experience was just as sublime as the eatery’s stellar spaghetti carbonara.
The small space was quiet on a Sunday night as co-diner and I decided on the proper seating. We both scanned the restaurant’s mosaic art and briefly peered over the glass separating us from the kitchen. Here’s a tip: near the kitchen is always a good call due to the delicious wafting aromas that seem to freeze in the air. I also love the open kitchen concept and an occasional smile from the chef is always pleasant.
The server was also attentive and very helpful with our decision making.
The earlier mentioned spaghetti carbonara ($16.95) seemed to pique both of our interests and we quickly took advantage of the Sunday half-price appetizers, ordering the arancini ($7.25), which consisted of three crispy risotto balls stuffed with fontina cheese, basil, and mushroom Parmigiano cheese. “Make sure you try it with the mushroom sauce on top,” Kirstin, our lovely server enticed. We made sure to follow her wisdom and it did not disappoint. The mushroom sauce was creamy and reminded me of a perfected wild mushroom soup. Our fingers became well acquainted with the plate throughout service.
The other appetizer we went for was the bruschetta ($6.25)—an Italian antipasto staple. Nuovo’s consisted of four sourdough crostinis topped with vine-ripened tomatoes, basil, and olive oil. I can’t count the number of times we said “So fresh” while devouring the plate. Gordon Ramsay would have been proud.
Next were the main entrées, which were shared between co-diner and I. We decided on the interesting meatloaf delicacy Polpettone ($24.95), which was bacon wrapped meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and shoestring fries drizzled in a port wine sauce. The plate is laid out beautifully with the meatloaf nestled in a bed of mashed potatoes, shielded by an onslaught of shoestring fries that resembled gourmet Hickory Sticks. The port wine sauce was a lovely reduction that lingered longingly after every bite.
The star of our Nuovo experience was the spaghetti carbonara ($16.95) consisting of mushrooms, eggs, and Grana Padano cheese, a slow-ripened, semi-fat cheese from Italy that destroys our North American equivalent. Co-diner and I savoured each bite of the al dente spaghetti and revelled in its enormous flavour. The mountain-high portion was perfect for sharing, but I easily could have finished it myself.
Next was the Tiramisu ($9.50) for dessert, which I had to undo a few buttons for (I haven’t felt so full in a long time). It was worth it. The crushed coffee-flavoured ladyfingers layered with mascarpone cheese were glorious. Suddenly I wasn’t so full as co-diner and I lovingly wrestled with our spoons for the last few bites.
I implore you to try this bistro for yourself and not let a few two-year-old reviews influence your decision.