Since it is a new year, I wanted to start it with a new place, and originally the plan was to try Public School 310, but since it was an hour’s wait for this hot new gastropub, I settled for a place that was new for me, Novecento. Located literally on Main Street, it has been in business for nearly 20 years serving home made pastas in a cozy space. Friends who are both picky and vegetarian have liked the food so I figured it could be a good place to start off a new year’s blog posts.

The space is warm and rustic with stone walls. The open kitchen and wine selection give the place a pleasant casual feel.

Service was friendly and a tapenade was immediately offered along with drinks. The tapenade had a distinctly spicy and lemony taste which was pleasant, but a bit unusual.

Once we placed our orders, a plate of sliced bread with a caper, herb, and red pepper dipping sauce was offered. Like the tapenade, it had an unusual flavor, in this case, I found it somewhat unpleasant, as if the herbs had been sitting in the olive oil too long.

My friend ordered her favorite dish here, the gnocchi with a creamy Gorgonzola sauce. I had a taste, and it was indeed wonderfully made, with rich blue cheese and light gnocchi. This is definitely a dish that will stick to your ribs and throw you off your diet, especially if you add grated Parmesan to it (which my friend did)!

I opted for a lighter dish, the Pollo Arrabbiata, chicken breasts with a spicy tomato sauce and a side of vegetables. The chicken breasts were cooked properly, and the vegetables were decent, but the arrabiata (literally “angry sauce”) was completely bland and the tomatoes tasted canned. It was a disappointing plate when so many places do excellent renditions of this kind of food. Eating this here made me want to go to Il Grano or Campagnola to replace the food on my plate with better quality and better talent.

My friend wanted dessert, so she ordered the blueberry creme brulee and thought it had good blueberry flavor (the dark spots on the photo are actually blueberries). I thought it was not rich enough to be called a creme brulee, but a good version nonetheless.

It is sad when an experience does not live up to your expectations, but thankfully it was a pleasant experience overall. The service was professional, the atmosphere was relaxed, and the bill for 2 entrees with a glass of DOCG Chianti, a soft drink, and a dessert was only $60 including tax and a 20% gratuity. It could have been much better, but it could also have been much worse, so I am grateful this experience fell somewhere in between.

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