Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nina's Argentinean Pizzeria

While interning in New York City my culinary goal is to find authentic Argentine food that reminds me of growing up in Buenos Aires. I'm looking for the real deal, not some allegedly Argentine Soho fusion. So after reviewing their menus online, I'm hitting up Argentine restaurants with the most authentic looking ones first.

Photo: Nina's

First on my list is Nina's Argentinean Pizzeria at 1750 2nd Ave. One look at Nina's website and I knew it was a must with its comparatively small prices and very authentic menu. Pizza and pasta are as much part of the culture in Buenos Aires as in the United States as most Argentines are second or third generation Italian.

I had
high hopes for the Provoleta appetizer. In Argentina they grill one inch thick slabs of provolone cheese with herbs that are to die for. Unfortunately, I was disappointed as Nina's was by far the thinnest I had ever seen. The flavor was good, but it's centimeter depth left little room for the cheesy explosion I am used to and I regretted throwing down $6.50 for it. And while there was nothing intrinsically wrong with the pre-meal bread and its eggplant olive oil dip, I'd never seen anything like in Argentina.

The Wild Mushroom Ravioli was neither dressed with nor stuffed with any mushrooms that I could see. In fact, my ravioli seemed to be meat instead. Luckily I'm an omnivore. It was nice to be able to order "salsa rosa" (Pink Sauce), and I found it adequate. The Linguine con Pesto was also good, but not outstanding. Most of Nina's pasta dishes run $11-14.

There's a lot more Nina's I'd like to taste. I'm particularly interested in how the milanesas are - they have quite the impressive selection. The pizzas also look good, through only a few hearken back to Argentina (namely the Chanfle, Portena and Fugazzetta). But that's probably for the best. Toppings like heart of palm, seeded green olives and "salsa golf" (think 1,000 island dressing) are best left back in Buenos Aires.

Authenticity: moderate
Rating: not a bad place for some pasta
Would I go back? maybe if I'm in the area

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