The virtually astronomical pace of restaurant growth downtown continues to amaze. One wonders if there are simply too many and that we’re on the verge of a shakeout of sorts.
But one place I’m quite optimistic about is nestled in on 2nd next to Malaga. It’s called Numero 28 and it’s been open for roughly a year and a half. They serve Sicilian-style Italian food here and they serve it with aplomb!
The owners are an international group and they are passionate about what they do. Bernardo Nolfo and his partner Marco project a genuine excitement about their menu. And this is not a chef-driven restaurant. There are time-honored family recipes taught to skilled cooks who can really bring it. And really what more do you need?
First taste was their Bruschetta which began with a sweet tomato basil pesto, roasted peppers, mozzarella and caponata atop crisp grilled sourdough bread. Delightful.
Next came the Caponata con Crostini. This is the classic Sicilian eggplant dish with olives, celery and onions. This dish can vary widely in its preparation but I was delighted with the beautiful taste accents at Numero 28. On the piquant side and spot on.
When the next dish arrived we at first thought it was a stuffed polenta. But not so. It was their version of Aranancini, a tasty Saffron-coated rice ball stuffed with Bolognese meat sauce, peas and mozzarella. So good that when I return I just might order three of these and call it a night!
The entrees were equally appealing. We tried a very unusually prepared Eggplant Parmesan. There was no breading or coating on the eggplant. Instead very thin slices were layered similar to a lasagna. The mouth feel was amazing: every nuance of flavor was there on your palate. The taste of the eggplant was not masked at all. I highly recommend this dish.
The other entree was a cannelloni with mushrooms and a light cream. The first bite was a smooth and savory delight and amazingly, it got better after that. Wound up taking part of this home and it was even tastier after being reheated in the oven.
Of course Numero 28 also makes a pizza to be reckoned with. Their namesake Numero 28 is a classic with speck, mushrooms, truffle cream and mozzarella. It’s served flatbread-style and is huge! A meal in itself.
Numero 28 is in the process of expansion. They’re converting the space on the corner to a bistro that will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Works for me!!!