February 14, 2013
Several weekends ago, I went to Cafe CaNole with five friends. Owned by the same brothers as my previously reviewed Ancora, Cafe CaNole is a vibrant Italian style restaurant located in New Hartford.
If you are lucky enough to sit in the side room, which can be reserved for large parties, you will have the silent entertainment of a black and white film, likely starring Audrey Hepburn, projected on the wall. In the spirit of the restaurant, we started our meal with a bottle of Italian Chianti. While the wine was quite enjoyable, the raspberry cosmopolitan my friend ordered tasted more like cough syrup than a cocktail.The waiter kindly comped the drink.
The tomato mozzarella salad, which is a large chop rather than the classic layered flat cuts, was a perfect first course. The taste is wonderful, but be warned, if you’re in it for the cheese, the mozzarella portion is less than hearty.
For a main dish, I recommend the clams and broccoli with linguini. The white wine sauce is worth slurping with a spoon, or pouring over some of their house cut fries with parsley, parmesan and garlic.
The portion sizes are sensible, you may have some leftovers, but most likely you will not be able to stop eating what sits in front of you. Truffled whipped potatoes were a major highlight at our table; half the group had sides. The potatoes are available as an addition to any meal or a substitute for the prescribed side of any main dish. You should not resist the dessert selection.
We opted for take out treats from the adjoined Cafe CaNole Bakery. The cannoli, plain or chocolate covered, is a perfect postprandial sweet. If you have never tried cannoli before, as was the case for my friend, this is the place to take your first bite. I would not, on the other hand, recommend dishing out even the measly 65 cents for their sugar cookies. Its cute size and colorful sprinkles will lure you in, but its dry tastelessness will quickly turn you off. In a completely out of character act of defiance against my food, I crushed the cookie into crumbs and tossed in the trash, once outside, of course; always be polite, no need to be rude.
It cannot be ignored that the general service is a bit sub par. Nonetheless, they were accommodating, allowing us to split our check six ways, and perfectly friendly. Over all, the delicious feast and dance in your seat tunes playing softly throughout the restaurant, even in the bathroom, makes for a glorious occasion that far out weighs any con.
Cafe CaNole Bistro and Pastry Shop is located at 1 Campion Rd, New Hartford, NY.13413 (315-733-6592). Ancora! Restaurant is located at 261 Genesee St. Utica, NY,13502 (315-724-4815). Their website (for both restaurants) is http://www.cafecanole.com.