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Manhattan

novo -- promising nuevo latino

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novo -- promising nuevo latino

xavier | Feb 6, 2006 09:42 AM

Went to Novo, a brand new high-end Latin at Hudson & Spring. This place has lots of things going for it. Even though they hard-opened just last week we had zero service glitches. The room was long, narrow and impressive. The prices were very moderate. The problem: The food needs a little work; some of it just wasn’t very flavorful.

It's not quite a tapas-style menu, but definitely seem designed to encourage a lot of sharing. Apps $8, salads & ceviches $10, entrees $12. Many, many items sounded appealing. We had a tuna ceviche that was excellent, with lime, chiles and coconut, a recipe I’m stealing for my next party.

But montaditas, thin-sliced -- yellowtail with a guacamole-sorta mixture on crisp toast -- didn’t taste like much. Nor did the grilled lubina (bass), though it was perfectly cooked. Nor the grilled chicken. You know something’s missing when you get salsas on the side including mojo with piquillo peppers and an olive-tapenade-based chimichurri and they’re bland.

They also are employing one of those annoying rush-you-out-the-door tricks: There was no dessert menu, they just bring you a an espresso cup filled with a light, foamy flan (delicious BTW). I first saw this gimmick at Mermaid Inn and find it aggravating. (Is this common?) I merely encourages me to linger and order coffee refills rather than help them turn the table.

They’ve yet to finalize an alcohol license, but they have great elaborate fruit drinks, agua fresca and batidos

Despite the flaws, Novo looks sufficiently promising that we’ll be back, probably with a business dinner crowd in the next few weeks.

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