Casa Nonna’s Amy Brandwein
December 12, 2011

Casa Nonna’s Amy Brandwein

Published in Scoutmob

We’re giving the city’s most talented toques complete artistic freedom to experiment on someone who’s willing to try anything. And we mean anything. Meet food adventurer Mary Kong. We’re sending her, her camera and her taste buds out and putting her wholly into the chefs’ hands. They’ve promised to give her their most under-ordered, dramatic or just plain weird eats, and she says? Try me.

Twelve in a dozen. Twelve months a year. Twelve signs of the zodiac. Twelve years then you hit your awkward years. The significance of this number can’t be ignored, especially if you can snag a seat at Casa Nonna’s Tavola 12. A sleek, cool marble counter curves around a roaring fire, two opposing elements that hint at the exhilaration that awaits you.

This warm, organic 12-seat chef’s table is the ring in which Mistress-of-Ceremonies and Executive Chef Amy Brandwein personally cooks for you. “Tavola 12 is a way for me to express myself,” says Brandwein, “and to play with ingredients that may not have a place on the regular menu, but still have a place in my heart.”

This is Brandwein’s playground. You’re sitting on her swing set now.

Each dinner is unique, as Chef Brandwein works with fresh, exciting ingredients to create Italian fare that is rustic yet elegant with a focus on flavor and texture.

Polpo alla pignata, tender baby octopus with potato confit and chile, baked in terracotta, with salty capers and olives.

Piccione allo spiedo is earthy, complex layers of sweet squab, liver, pear and truffled saba with fragrant sage.

Pungent gorgonzola gives a savory twist on traditional panna cotta, with fig vin cotto and fleur du sel.

Creamy, dense chocolate-hazelnut semifreddo is an elegant finish to 12 mystical courses.

“We’re looking to cook for people and expose them to a great experience,” says Brandwein, “and to expose them in a way that is approachable, and highlights the ingredients in a way that’s exciting and delicious.”

At $45 per person, plus an additional $30 for wine pairings, I’d say mission accomplished. Exclusively on Friday and Saturday nights at Casa Nonna.

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