Last night my favorite chowhound and I were walking around the Upper East Side and stumbeled upon Nica Trattoria on 84th St (just off 1st). At first we were a bit taken back by the intimate ambiance of the restaurant, but once the chef came out to us to take our orders we were totally happy. He ratteled off a list of house specials and while I used my chowhound senses to order what he wanted to cook me, she ordered from the menu.
We started with stuffed mushrooms - filled with cheese and parsley, really good, not great but a good start to the meal (one of the specials was eggplant rollatini but we weren't hungry enough to order 2 apps)
I had "S Shaped pasta" with mushroom, sausage, peas and a red sauce - the pasta was cooked PERFECTLY, just tender enough to make you chew the pasta but without that rubbery feel - exactly the way I like my pasta cooked.
She had the Orecchiette alla barese which also had perfectly cooked pasta with an excellent light sauce - towards the end it was a bit heavy on the garlic but other than that a good dish.
For dessert we shared a perfectly crusted creme brule; the custard was at the perfect temperature and the flamed sugar added that great texture to the dish - almost as thick as a flan and excellent flavor.
It was a great surprsie to find this place last night.