When I asked him, Fittsdoola said, “If you want Italian in Brooklyn Heights go to Noodle Pudding.” Having trusted him on Brooklyn before, I chose to do so again. So I responded to Wife’s email “of course we should join Spidey & Shmoo for dinner. I think Noodle Pudding would be a good place to try.”
The space is everything you want Brooklyn Italian to be – long, narrow, somehow humid, while still feeling like it is warmed by a fire. A bar is planted in the middle and, while people wait at it, the artery that is already narrowed by its placement gets almost impassible. The servers are all in black pants and white shirts and their assignments seem to be handed out in age order, with the oldest guy doing the seating and the youngest clearing tables.
I have surgery scheduled for Wednesday and have been told no drinking, so I didn’t even crack the wine list. I did notice that the cover was a color photocopy of the cover of Wine by André Dominé, a book I am reading at the moment and enjoying very much.
The menu was simple first courses, then seconds, with a list of daily specials. Having had a big eating week, I opted for the Cavatelli and Cannellini Beans and the Grilled Chicken over Salad. Walking in, I had squeezed through the artery past a single woman eating it, and stuck it out in my head as looking pleasing.
The Cavatelli was perfect: equal portions cavatelli and cannelini beans, with some olive oil, garlic, tomato, and basil. Simple.
The chicken was a paillard: pounded flat, brushed with some herbs and olive oil, and grilled. It was over a salad of the same baby mesclun mix everyone is using these days with a huge amount of parsley added. A lemon was on the edge of the plate so I squeezed it over along with the parsley it made for a very fresh flavor. Again, simple.
For dessert, I had an espresso and it was what it should be. Short, strong, and with a thick crème. The amount of places in this city that get that wrong is embarrassing.
No matter who is cooking Italian food, it is right when the cook has fresh ingredients and the confidence to let them be the show. This is what you get at Noodle Pudding. I added some salt here and there, and put a drop of balsamic in Wife’s asparagus soup to add the zing it wanted but, on the whole, left very satisfied with the experience.