Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nonna Tata

My real FWHITW resolutions:

1) Go to the following places in the new
year: ... Nona Tata
Over two years ago I made this New Year's Resolution to visit Nonna Tata. That was before 2008. I finally made it, but it took until 2010.

Nonna Tata is the Southside sensation that has filled its small space every night with crowds waiting outside for some delicious food from the Tata herself. In a small restaurant, just barely big enough for about six tables, people come and experience real Italian food in a cozy and inviting environment. Grab some friends, a few bottles of good wine, put your name on the list and prepare for an enjoyable evening.

Of course, many of the readers of this blog are better Hole In The Wall pursuers than myself and have been to Nonna Tata numerous times. If you haven't been, you're not really a person since you're not really living. Think about it.

In order to really live, I held off on pulling out the FWHITW card and decided to experience the restaurant like many of you people have done. We put an alias on the list and sat out at a table, got some wine glasses from the waitress and enjoyed a bottle of wine like the plebeians. Of course, we were quickly seated (probably due to an informant) and began analyzing a menu that is in Italian with descriptions in English.

The waitress (same one who brought us our wine glasses outside and possibly the only one there) explained the specials and introduced us to the menu. After figuring out that I couldn't decide on anything, I ordered one of the specials. My co-diners opted for menu items. After getting a great salad and enjoying a little more wine, our food came out piping hot.

I'll explain the other dishes first, then get to mine - it builds up suspense and allows me to quickly deal with things I don't really know about. First, there was a pasta with pesto. The eater reported that it was a bit dry but that the flavor was good. The second eater ordered a dish with chopped tomatoes and olive oil. That eater also believed the dish was a bit dry but thought the freshness and flavor was great. My wife ordered the pasta alla carbonara ("Pasta con huevos") and really liked it. At many restaurants its a dish with a heavy cream sauce. Here, the cream is played down so you can experience an egg based carbonara and you really taste the fresh ingredients and flavors. I had a bite and really liked it as well.

But, it turns out, these three diners got out-NonnaTatad by yours truly. Despite asking the name of the dish six or seven times, all I understood was something 'ini'. We'll call it a Tatalini. The dish was a version of tortellini filled with pork (mortadello) and cheese covered in a light tomato sauce. It was delicious. Each bite was better than the next and they were all better than everybody else's bites combined. Each large piece of Tatalini was tender, covered in a delicious sauce with a moist flavorful center. When you go, which you will do soon, order the Tatalini. I'm sure they'll know what you're asking for.

If you haven't been, you need to go. They are also serving people who sit at the Usual so you can eat earlier if you don't mind eating down the street. But for the full experience you really need to sit outside, be apart of society and the lively atmosphere and then go into the small closet of a restaurant and enjoy some good food. Go to the Usual afterwards for a drink though.

For those of you that are expecting a spaghetti and meatball place, prepare for something different. If you are unsure about something on the menu, I would definitely ask. The descriptions are accurate but the dishes differ from most Americanized Italian places (or Albanian Italian places). Also, take a check or cash.

Nonna Tata has earned a 4 Holes on the HITW scale based on its small size, intimidating wait on certain days and the fact that many people I've talked to say "it looks scary". Wusses.

The restaurant is located at 1400 West Magnolia.

Let me know if you've been and what you think.

Nonna Tata on Urbanspoon

10 comments:

Carrie Leigh Jakus said...

This just might be my favorite HITW in Fort Worth!! GREAT review - glad you were finally able to experience its greatness. Also - are they still charging $3 if you use their wine glasses? The last time I went in this was the case and thought it might be helpful to know to bring your own if you don't want to pay the said fee!

Ashley said...

Yay! I love Nonna Tata! I'm pretty sure the carbonara is what I usually get and I have trouble ordering anything else because I like it so much. This place is a favorite with my girlfriends for girls nights. Not that guys can't love and appreciate Nonna Tata too!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

I didn't mention the wine glass charge because even though I saw the sign, I don't know if I was charged. I didn't see it on the bill but I wasn't looking that closely.

So as a friendly reminder, save money and take your own glasses.

Ashley, I get a lot of emails asking about girls night out type places so I'm glad you mentioned that. But guys, you'll fit in just as well - plus, if you're single, there will probably be a table of girls nearby.

Thanks for reading.

Longhorn Diva said...

And their verison of a zabaione may just be the secret to world peace. It's that good.

Texican said...

I like Nonna Tata (been there a half dozen times), but I think she is really overly-ambitious with her menu - I have had some real misses and have found the service to be pretty slow on occasion.

IMHO, she should trim her menu to a smaller number of items that are more easily supported out of that tiny kitchen.

Any word on her Como location? She had said she was looking at a site on Horne.

Love the blog.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Longhorn Diva - I don't konw what a zabalone is but if its as delicious as a zamboni, I'll give it a try.

Texican, thats an interesting perspective. I haven't been enough to be able to comment in that manner, but thanks for the insight. Regarding the Como location - who knows. I think they announced that location about two years ago, so if they're on the Cooper's schedule, we'll have asomething in the next year...or two.

Thanks for reading.

Taco This said...

I will have to try it. By the way, if you are looking for a true hole in the wall, may I suggest the "40's and 50's Restaurant". 1020 Fabons Street, Fort Worth?

I'm unsure how "hard-core" you get with respect to how much of a "hole in the wall" a place is---but this place is off the charts. It's INSANE.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Taco This, as you can tell, I have very stringent rules here that I stretch for my benefit. I'll give it a shot - thanks for the information.

13moons said...

I love Nonna Tata. We have been 4, maybe 5 times. The gnocchi with a gorgonzola cream sauce with some finely chopped nuts sprinkled on top...absolutely divine. We don't often go when we would like to though, because it is so tiny and so hard to get a table.
As far as the $3 for a wine glass...it's not really paying to USE the glass...you actually buy the glass and can take it home and bring it back next time...if you remember. That is much less than corkage fees in a lot of restaurants, say in New York, or even toney Dallas restaurants.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

13moons, I agree with the awesomeness. If you're not opposed to eating in a bar, go to the Usual and you can order your food from Nonna Tata. A waitress will actually bring you the food.

The wine glass deal is a good one, but I think I've bought five of those glasses so far and never taken one home.