My wife and I were recently invited into Bella Luna, and upper west side Italian joint, for a complimentary meal in exchange for an honest review of the food. The menu looked pretty great, so I was excited to get in here.
The restaurant was jumping on a Thursday night. I don’t think there was an empty table in the joint. It makes sense, given the attractively priced pasta dishes ($12 for their long list of classics) set in a beautiful dining room.
We started with an order of mussels. These babies are cooked in a garlic, white wine and tomato sauce.
The sauce was awesome. In fact, we kept asking for extra bread to soak up the goodness. I was happy there was a spoon on the table, because I was eating the sauce like soup.
Next up was one of their special pasta dishes: lamb pappardelle.
Pappardelle is one of my favorite styles of pasta: long, wide ribbons. This stuff was fresh made, and the lamb ragu was great. The meat sauce also contained some diced carrots, onions and peppers. It reminded me of the Sunday meat sauces (aka “gravy,” in some circles) that my grandmother used to make when my family would visit each week. It was boldly flavored, yet not too heavy where you feel bloated after. This was definitely my favorite dish of the night.
Then we shared a pizza.
We ordered the “Bella Luna” pizza, which is topped with wild mushrooms, truffle oil, onions and fontina cheese.
As you can see, we added some prosciutto and olives to the party.
This was a really great pizza! The dough was puffy and light, but still had a good crunch with an airy, doughy bite. They’re working some magic back there in the brick oven!
Dessert was impressive, as they were offering slices of a special praline ice cream cake from the bake shop that used to be located next store (Grossinger’s; a neighborhood classic for many decades).
This was so rich and decadent. Such awesome flavors going on, and I even thought I tasted some halva in the mix, which I love. I highly recommend a slice of this if they have any left when you go.
My wife’s choice was tiramisu, her favorite, but with a scoop of their toasted pistachio gelato on top.
A genius idea, if I may say so. The tiramisu was soft, and nicely coffee flavored. The lady fingers weren’t soaked in too much booze, and it was overall very creamy and tasty.
I definitely recommend this place. It’s a great neighborhood joint with extremely reasonable prices, set up with gorgeous exposed brick and rustic wood decor.
574 Columbus Ave
New York, NY 10024