Casa Bella

Some family friends were in town and invited me to join them for dinner in Little Italy. I couldn't make a restaurant recommendation, because all I know about Little Italy is that there are a lot of great places to eat. Walking down Mulberry Street, we came upon Casa Bella and decided to give it a try.

Located at our famous outside mall, on the well known corner of Mulberry Street, where the GoodFellas walk by. There are plenty of colorful tables, umbrellas, music, singing and real good Italian food. That is what our restaurant in old fashioned Little Italy is all about.

It was a very nice dinner, and the service was attentive and friendly. I tried the gnocchi with chicken and three cheese sauce. The pasta (gnocchi) was a little dry on the inside, not as soft as I've had before but the sauce was very good. The chicken was thinly sliced (almost deli-meat like) and then cut into small pieces. It made it easy to get a bite of gnocchi with chicken. My only other note on the dish was that it was all white: white pasta, white sauce, white-meat chicken, on a white plate, perhaps a different color plate or a garnish would have helped to make it a little more visually interesting.

We tried a variety of desserts including the cannoli, double chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and Italian cheesecake. One description of the cannoli was "cinnamony" which was interesting and apt, even though there wasn't cinnamon in it (I don't think). The chocolate cake looked delicious and rich, though I didn't try it. The mousse was light - "the way it should be" - and the cheesecake was Italian style, with ricotta, so it was lighter and softer than the typical New York style cheesecake.

Overall it was a very nice meal, with friendly service and good Italian food. After I finished my dish, I was enticed by other plates I saw around the restaurant, so perhaps I'll go back and see what else to try. Little Italy tends to be a bit touristy, but that doesn't mean you can't find a good dinner. I was definitely lucky to have such a nice meal with some great people (thanks!).

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