Al Hirschfeld, a caricaturist, was best known for his black and white portraits of celebrities, especially when it came to the Broadway theatre. He became even more well-known for placing his daughter, Nina, in his art. A number followed his signature designating how many times her name appeared, except in a few instances or only one time if no number. It became a game of finding her name as people awaited the arts section of the New York Times each week or sought his books.
Nino Selimaj, owner of Nino’s restaurants in Manhattan has a mural in his first location at 1354 First Avenue. This mural is of celebrities with Nino in it several times and this is more like a “where’s Waldo”.
I recently went to a tasting as they announced not just some new items on their regular menu, but weekday “happy hours” specials in the bar area served from 4 to 7 p.m., starting with some interesting $8 drinks.
I had a Mojito and loved it.
Others are: Spritz Aperol, Spritz Campari, Americano, Negroni, Malbec Novecento, Pinot Grigio Santa Marina and your choice of beer.
As for the food, I sampled most of the small plate items. Nino’s Homemade Meatballs with pine nuts and raisins, roasted tomato sauce and grated parmigiano reggiano. Bruchetta with tomato sauce and mozzarella. An assortment of olives and cheese. Rigatoni and Vodka in a pink sauce with parm cheese. Penne with braised veal, roasted peppers, scallions and olive oil (asked to eliminate the garlic).
I was also interested to try one of the chef’s signature dishes. Nino suggested the Veal Scallopini with prociutto and melted Fontana , leeks, mushrooms, fingerling potatoes and lemon sage.
My taste buds were almost at the end of their party as I was a bit curious about the desserts that were made on the premises. I tend to pass on a ricotta cheese cake as I find them to be less dry and smooth than a cream cheese cake. However, this was perfect. Bravo to them.
Check it all out on www.ninosnyc.com