So. There’s nothing like a home cooked Italian meal…(especially if you can get someone else to make it for you.) If you are looking for authentic Italian cuisine, you have to make the trip from where ever you may find yourself on the planet to Cafe CaNole. This small business is a jewel in Central New York.
Owned by the Nole brothers, Dean and Jason, they offer True. Italian. Cuisine. If you’re looking for spaghetti and meatballs, you won’t find it here. Instead they offer the dishes from your Nonna’s table. In fact, I would venture as far as to say that if you don’t know what Rabine greens are, you haven’t eaten true Italian food. Yet.
Traditionally, Italian food (as the Italians know it,) is different than what we’ve come to expect here in the states.
This restaurant has found the perfect balance of upscale Italian food and good old-fashioned, peasant, comfort food. Served in an urban style of sparse class, the chalk board walls have the daily specials as well as the finest list of wines this side of Greve in Chianti.
Dean is a perfect host, both gracious and gregarious. He flits around the restaurant’s two kitchens overseeing the creations being wrought from scratch. Whether your preference is for savory or sweet, they have both. The menu for both lunch and dinner is presented on plates in the European style of contorno . This means that each part of the meal is celebrated for the work of art that it is. (Much like a “contour” in art, it completes, gives depth, and adds color. Here, is the added bonus of taste.) They use tiny sauce pans to serve their risotto and truffle potatoes, which allows you to appreciate and register the tastes of each separate component of the meal.
When you are seated, the ambience is both convivial and intimate. There is a screen showing old Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin movies and the tables are cozy, especially once the fresh baked bread arrives. The bread plates beckon for olive oil. Jugs of the best, buttery olive oil are the centerpiece of each table. When you are presented with the bread and cheese, pour some olive oil onto the plate, sprinkle it with the cheese and dip your bread. By the time your meal arrives, you will already be satiated, but keep on going…the salads are huge and fresh and beautiful. Findings like beets, gorgonzola cheese, apples, and tomatoes are like little gems hidden among the baby lettuces.
Whatever you order, you will be thrilled and filled. There is a relaxing atmosphere that invites you to linger over espresso and pastries. Be sure to look in their bakery case. Whatever you choose will be fantastic. They have a plethora of favorites coupled with creative and delicious delights. They also make wedding cakes, as well as everything from First Communion to birthday cakes. Their cookies are the kind that everyone’s Zia used to make, but no one ever wrote the recipe down.
Enjoy your meal. I’ve said before that “Buon cibo loda Dio.” (Good food praises God.) Here, that old Italian expression is a full on worship service.
…and when you go, tell them Cindy sent you.