We joined Nikki Friday night at Novitá in Garden City NY (where she is a hostess on the weekends). [Sandy (not me, Mom's friend) said anywhere else it would be pronounced novEEta, but in Garden City it has to be noviTAH.] We were pretty much the only ones there since the weather was so atrocious, so that was actually nice, and it meant Nikki was able to sit down and have dinner with us. Our waitress Megan was absolutely great, so funny and personable; of course it probably helped that Nikki was sitting with us and they get along well. Throughout the evening various staff came over and introduced themselves to us since we were sitting with Nikki, so that was enjoyable. The manager made a special table-side appearance and told me how much they enjoy her work, so that was great for a mom to hear!
Too bad I didn't write down the name of the red wine we ended up with at Megan's suggestion. It was very nice though. Although SOME of us had Stella Artois (wink wink).
We started out with a calamari appetizer (photo 1), which was huge, more than the four of us could finish and still hope to eat our dinners; it had a spicy marinara sauce as well as a creamy aoli to dip in. It was pretty good, lightly battered, but I've had less chewy calamari at good Italian restaurants.
Dinner was most excellent though… I had (to quote the online menu):
CRAB & BASIL CRUSTED TILAPIA 28-
SAFFRON SCENTED FINGERLINGS, BRAISED FENNEL,
LEMON THYME BEURRE BLANC
which was really good, and a nice size portion too (which for me means not way more than I need). I did need to save room for dessert though, so I left enough for Nikki to take back to her room. Everyone else really liked their choices, too. And for dessert (with my espresso) I had:
Extra Virgin Strawberry Shortcake 10-
lemon, basil, balsamic
The "Extra Virgin" meant it was made with EVOO, not, as Megan would have it, that the strawberries had never been touched, but we liked that explanation better (photo 3). The flavors were really interesting together. And yes, I was able to finish that huge heap o' cake & cream & berries. In the background you can just see the espresso torte that Sandy had. mmmm
A most enjoyable evening… good company, great service, a really nice place. Thanks, Mom, for treating us to a great dinner!