WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Nuvolari’s came along t the same time the gourmet bistros were spreading through Uptown New Orleans. It’s Italian, but has the same spirit as those across-the-lake innovators. The style has always been fresh and inventive, with as much New Orleans flavor as Italian.
This light style of Creole-Italian cooking is almost unique. The ingredients are of good provenance and the service friendly and efficient. The seafood dishes are especially appealing, with seemingly-similar dishes each having their own unique flavors. This is a particularly good place in which to construct an all-appetizer dinner.
The brick main building is over a century old, for most of that time the general store for Old Mandeville. It was renovated into a restaurant in 1984 by Paul Murphy, the owners of Jacmel Inn in Hammond. Originally Nuvolari’s (named for 1930s Italian racecar driver Tazio Nuvolari) was an Italian restaurant, albeit with an inventive, contemporary collection of dishes. Over the years its chefs emphasized Creole cooking in their specials. After the hurricane (which did only a little damage to the restaurant), Nuvolari’s reopened with a much shorter menu. It was so well received that they never went back to the old style. The best of the restaurant’s signature dishes remained, but now the menu is revised daily.
The split-level main dining room is reminiscent of the concept restaurants of the 1970s, but it has a comfortable, casual style. Wood railings and windowed panels divide the big space into more intimate areas. The second dining room is more modern and formal. The bar–presided over personally by manager Wally Simmons–has its own life force, busy and happy.
»Crawfish tails, escargots, mushrooms and brandy demi glace
»Fried oysters and brie
Steamed mussels with pancetta
Potato gnocchi with shrimp and romano
»Jumbo lump crabmeat and baby greens
»Bleu cheese iceberg wedge
Soup du jour
Tomato and basil soup
Pan roasted Gulf fish with artichoke, spinach, crabmeat
Pesto crusted salmon
»Roasted duck with cherry-peppercorn glaze
Braised Italian sausage and shrimp
»Char-grilled redfish with pecans, crabmeat, satsuma meuniere
Genoa shrimp with pasta, pecans and pesto cream sauce
»Mediterranean chicken with tomatoes, capers, olives
»Panneed veal Alfredo
»Char-grilled pork chop with chanterelles
Creole spiced beef tips
Baked eggplant layered with marinara and spinach
Sorbets and ice cream
»White chocolate cheesecake
FOR BEST RESULTS
The entrees here are of such a size that it’s uncomfortable to have two preliminary courses. Check the blackboard near the entrance for wine specials.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The wine list, once very interesting, needs beefing up. The main dining room is looking a little worn; it’s overdue for a renovation.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment +1
- Consistency +1
- Value +1
- Attitude +1
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +2
- Good view
- Good for business meetings
- Open Sunday dinner
- Open Monday dinner
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations honored promptly