interiorNi.Do. Caffé ( -- the Italian words Niente Domani mean ‘no tomorrow’, or enjoy the day --) is a stark white, bright ravioli1and attractive 3,600 square feet neighborhood trattoria, where Il Tulipano and North 110 used to be, with warm wood floors, a welcoming bar, a private dining area with a projector, a casual dining room with an urban feel and an entire wall lined with refrigerated shelves selling products available on the menu and gourmet souvenirs.

It is the second outpost of Ni.Do. Caffe, an Italian restaurant which first opened in Miami’s MiMo District nearly five years ago to rave reviews.  

Free of pretense, it is expertly managed by manager Miro Cuturilo and  general manager Luca Delogu, an experienced restaurateur who previously worked at Trattoria Sole, Blù in Miami and in Venezuela and Dominican Republic.  The kitchen is in the hands of Executive Chef Claudio Sandri, from Piedmont, who brings with him more than three decades of international experience, an Italian Culinary Federation “Master Chef ” award and appearances on The Food Network’s Iron Chef America.

antipastiThe list of WINES (stands for Whimsical, Inspirational, Native, Esoteric andSensuous) offers well-priced Italian andosso.buco international choices, all organic or biodynamic  is affordable and vies for attention with a vast choice of beers and cocktails.

Until the food arrives, nothing about Ni.Do hints at what the kitchen can do. En the cheese platters seem to be a chance for the kitchen to shine. And when servers deposited on the table one of the best pizzas I’ve had in the US and, from the mozzarella bar, a dish of creamy, tangy yet sweet, fresh Mozzarella di Campania DOP served with cherry tomatoes, an addictive Sicilian caponata in a silver bucket and green olives, I didn’t imagine it would be so delicious.

Pizzas ($12 - $16) thin-crusted, light and extremely flavorful thanks to a long fermentation process are topped with a variety of great ingredients or you can have it as focaccia with rosemary and olive oil ($4) to accompany an enticing antipasto of cold cuts and cheeses ($17 for two; $29 for four)  and a creamy, truffle Burratina al Tartufo.

Chef Sandri’s craftsmanship shows from the antipasti ($8 - $16) such as pumpkin soup with amaretti and rosemary, carpaccio of octopus and Fontina-truffle fondue with Parma ham and fried pizza dough to black mussels in white wine garlic sauce and the lightest fried calamari and zucchini.

The pasta menu (($17 - $19) is based on both the chef’s sensible approach to cuisine and the quality of the ingredients.

The pivotal dish is the Ravioli di Ossobuco di Vitello. Both delicate in texture and hearty, the large, silky ravioli stuffed with tender veal ossobuco are cooked in butter and gently tease the flavor out of the fresh tomato sauce.    Ravioli di Fichi in Salsa di Gorgonzola e Noci, a fig ravioli in a light and creamy gorgonzola sauce topped with roasted walnuts may seem more sophisticated but is actually heavier than the ossobuco ravioli.  The pillowy potato gnocchi alla Sorrentina with fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella.

There’s also Linguini alle vongole with clams, white wine and Bottarga or cured fish roe;  Bigoli Integrali con Acciughe e Pan Grattato, whole wheat and handmade bigoli pasta with Sicilian anchovies, red pepper flakes and bread crumbs and the eminently regional Chitarrucci ai frutti di mare, square pasta with a flavorful seafood sauce shock full of shrimp, mussels, clams, calamari, scallops, tomatoes and parsley.

dessert1Secondi Piatti ($23 - $32) or main dishes list  Branzino Mediterraneo, grilled and simply seasoned in roasted red pepper sauce; the traditional Mixed Seafood Fry; and the perfectly cooked, melt-in-the mouth king of Milanese cuisine: the ossobuco con risotto alla Milanese. Have a yen for grilled meat? Then the 12 oz Rib-eye from 100% Gaucho Ranch natural grass fed beef will do.

Desserts like Caffe Ni. Do., a shaken espresso with a swirl of hazelnut chocolate sauce served in a martini glass and topped with freshly whipped cream, toasted almonds and slivers of chocolate, poached pear with vanilla ice cream or fried dough with chocolate ganache are all homemade and change according to the chef’s mood.

It is a rare occurrence to be treated to such complex, subtle and simply good Italian fare such as chef Sandri’s in a casual, family-oriented trattoria.  Ni. Do. Caffe is open for dinner daily from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and will soon open for lunch and weekend brunch. Soon to come: Mozzarella-making classes and cooking classes. Ni.Do. Miami Shores is located at 11052 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33161, and in the MiMo district at 7295 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33138   (786) 953-5120  http://www.nidocaffe.com/new/ .

 

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