Nando Milano | Restaurant review
The stakes at this neighborhood joint are low. And yet the place still disappoints.
Recipes warn of it: Carefully toss the pasta with the yolks, they read, unless you want scrambled eggs. But not until Nando Milano had I ever actually seen it, carbonara with a’s worth of yellow scrambled eggs in place of a silky, rich sauce. The scrambled eggs didn’t make the dish inedible, however. That task was left to a saltiness that registered on the level of the Dead Sea.
The stakes for a neighborhood Italian restaurant of this ilk are, for better or for worse, not especially high. The generosity of the portions is perhaps as important as the contents of the plates, and if you’re in the market for carbo-loading, this place is a success. There’s a requisitely flirtatious Italian host and a sweet little sidewalk patio on Division Street, if it’s charm you’re after. But if you have even the most minimal standards for Italian food, Nando Milano is a disappointment.
The meal begins with complimentary bruschetta topped with chopped tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It’s a nice gesture, but at a moment when ripe, colorful, juicy tomatoes packed with flavor are finally arriving at the farmers’ market, it’s a shame to serve the whitish, tasteless version found in cafeteria salad bars every day of the year. Asparagus topped with two fried eggs is harmless but completely unseasoned. The gnocchi has a wet, undercooked, gummy texture; the wan sliced steak is half chewy fat; the panna cotta has stiffened to the point that it’s devoid of creaminess.
The best dish on the menu is hunks of ripe melon strewn with marbled prosciutto. What are we to make of this? That maybe Nando Milano should steer clear of the stove top.