When restaurateur, owner and chef Shalom Yehudiel opened a humble Italian cookery in January of 2021, he decided to name it for his first child. La Cucina Di Nava means Nava’s kitchen, and Nava’s father knows what to do in a kitchen. He’s an experienced chef who worked as a restaurant consultant for two years before realizing his dream of opening his own restaurant. Now he has two, The Humble Toast and La Cucina Di Nava.
The décor is black, white, and wooden. The tablecloths are checkboard, both indoors and in the cozy dining spot out back. The outdoor setup provides the perfect view of La Cucina Di Nava’s mural Nava playing. As well as honoring his daughter, Yehudiel wanted kids to feel welcome and comfortable. It’s a humble Italian place, and the food is meant to be both humble and comforting. That does not mean it isn’t gourmet. Yehudiel and Chef Frank worked together to create a unique and appealing menu.
Starting with the appetizers are the distinctive and iconic Ode to Queen Anne’s fries. These fries are decadently smothered in different kinds of sauces; the customers have three choices. They can order the fries with pesto cream, fried capers, herbs, and parmesan. They can order them with the house sugo, mozzarella, and dried herbs. Or they can order them in vodka sauce, with parmesan and mozzarella. What choice! You can’t go wrong either way. Also, the menu uses a lot of Italian words, like sugo and bambino. It’s a taste of Italy, which for some is a taste of home.
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For the main dish, there are a lot of choices. The Gnocchi Bolognese is mixed with grated parmesan, the house sugo, vegan sausage, and fresh basil. If you prefer fish to pasta, the Charred Whole Branzino Alla Puttanesca comes with a pillow of arugula and truffle potatoes. Of course, Italian comfort food means pizza in America, and La Cucina doesn’t skimp on the good stuff. Their specialty pie, known as The Rodeo, has faux barbeque chick, smoked gouda or Havarti, fresh cilantro, mozzarella, and shaved red onions. The Mellow Mushroom has crimini, portobello, shiitake melody mix, fresh rosemary, caramelized onions, house white sugo, and white truffle oil.
The dessert menu boasts fried dough known as zeppoli, different tarts, or dessert sampler with a little of everything.
Generally speaking, Italian food has a certain appeal, particularly when done right. Italian culture, much like Judaism, emphasizes food and family. The warmth of both is comforting, and that is what you will find at La Cucina Di Nava: food and family.