Last night I tried La Nonna, the new Italian restaurant on Atlantic between Clinton and Henry (old site of Mid-Atlantic Cafe). No cause for rejoicing here.
We started off with a Kafka-esque discussion about corkage. I asked if they had a liquor license. Proprietress said not yet; it was being transfered from their old place. I then indicated I'd go across the street (to Heights Chateau) to pick up a bottle of wine. Great, they said, and there's a $5.00 corkage fee. This made no sense to me since I always believed that the purpose of a corkage fee was to discourage you from bringing your own wine so that you'd order from the restaurant's wine list. When I told her this, she responded that until they got their license, they were offering complimentary glasses of wine. I still felt that this was unfair (what are the odds of the free house wine being that good and why should I be penalized for opting for my own choice) but she went on to explain that at their previous restaurant, it had taken 6 months to get a liquor license during which time it was BYOB and that by the time the license came through folks were so used to b-ing their own b that they got mad when a corkage was enforced.
Whatever. By this time I was clearly endangering our chances of having a pleasant meal and I just said we'd be happy to drink their free wine.
After all this drama, the meal was an anti-climax. Bare bones space, but then again it was at least rid of the dreadful Mid-Atlantic cafe chairs that were a holdover from Acadia Parish. Herb-infused olive oil with OK bread. My companion's veal parmigianno ($10) was what you'd expect from a decent pizza parlor. Over-balsamic-ed house salad came with, and I mean WITH. Served at the same time.
My veal milanese ($13) was also pizza-parlor quality. There was no finesse in the frying of the cutlet and the breading appeared to be of canned, pre-seasoned crumbs. Intead of a sprightly chopped salad atop the veal, I got the same house salad--just dumped on the veal. The combination of the bread-crumbs and the salad dressing pretty much drowned out the veal-ness of the veal or the salad-ness of the salad.
The menu, which must be a work in progress, was tiny. Three apps (one was the salad), six pastas and four entrees. That was it. Service was pleasant if not terribly professional.
For $30, of course, we could have eaten at one of Cobble Hill's many unreconstructed Italian restaurants. I don't much see the point of this one.
The house wine, by the way, was OK.