Tavolino Della Nonna
A funny thing happens on your way to bi-focals, you start to pine for what was. Suddenly the Sunday family dinners, laden with odd relatives, even odder relatives of relatives and friends from the ‘hood (that you couldn’t wait to escape from in your teens), morph into a kinder, gentler time you wish you could go back to (at least once in a while) in your … let’s just say 35+ years.
A time when the wine was good, the food was great, family was family and the feeling of it all? Even greater.
In most Italian American/Jewish American, even Polka-dot American homes, you were either crowded around a Formica table in grandma’s kitchen or using the good china (if special dispensation arrived from the Pope) in the dining room. And if you were wearing a short skirt, the plastic covered furniture you were sitting on yanked off the top layer of your skin when you got up.
Well, good news! Lucy and Ricky, Ozzie and Harriet and the Cleavers are all alive and well and living at Tavolino Della Nonna, on Sample Road in Coral Springs. (Which translated from Italian means table of my grandmother.)
Walk inside this sleek, trendy, wood and glass laden bistro and at first glance you could be in South Beach especially with their soft ambient lighting. But a quick look to your right and you spy a small (seats 14) room with a 1950’s vibe. I Love Lucy, plays from a TV, framed black and white pictures line the walls, as do appliances from, well, grandma’s kitchen. “Many of which have been given to us as gifts after people eat here,” said the happy, instantly lovable Ed Pozzuoli, one of the owners. And folks have visiting rights. “Families book just regular family dinners in there and tons of special occasions.” You can feel why. The room envelopes and transports you to another place in time that was glorious and happy for most. Gathered around the authentic Formica table and kitchen chairs I could almost fight with my brother like it was yesterday, and remember those I loved, like they’d pop out of the kitchen any second.
Whether you eat in Grandma’s Kitchen or in the elegantly appointed dining room, EAT.
The food is … glorious. In an incredibly touching and poignant piece of prose that hangs in their restrooms entitled, No One Covered the Fig Tree, there is a line that says, “Italians LIVE a romance with food.” And anyone who knows great Italian food, knows this to be true. The passion for that perfection in flavor, that perfection in texture and in design is put on plates every night at Tavolino Della Nonna. It really doesn’t get more real.
Every dish from appetizer to entrée to dessert hits all measures of excellence.
But do not rush this experience. The beyond knowledgeable and entertaining Franco — part concierge, part sommelier, part storyteller and a big part of the reason this place captures you, will suggest wines, perfectly pairing them with your courses, if you choose. We were turned on to an inexpensive Lunetta Prosceco ($24; an Italian Champagne-like aperitif), to begin our meal. Crisp and light, it was EXCEPTIONAL! The night seemed to soar from there.