It’s Confirmed: The New Nino’s 46 is Less of a Midtown Lunch Than the Original
Along with many Midtown Lunchers, I’ve been walking past Nino’s 46, formerly Nino’s Trattoria, waiting for signs of it opening for many months. Finally it has undergone a soft opening, but to our dismay the menu had become far more expensive. Lunchers, I’m here to report: our fears that Nino’s Trattoria reincarnation Nino’s 46 is no longer a Midtown Lunch are pretty much confirmed. My coworker and I dropped by this week anyway to give it a shot.
Keeping in mind they just opened, they were reasonably busy and seemed to have their shit together in terms of service. However, at a restaurant where the $9 lasagna was once one of the most expensive items on the menu, if you’re going to stay under 10 dollars these days, your options are limited. For our first try, my buddy ordered the chicken parm. I had no choice but to go over the ML limit and order the muffuletta panini for $11 because I love New Orleans style muffuletta sandwiches almost as much as I love Buffalo wings — and you can barely find them anywhere in New York.
The justification from the restaurant owners for raising the price of the chicken parm was that they have added a choice of fries or salad to the meal. My sandwich also came with that choice. I asked for fries since I’m apparently on a mission to get as fat as I possibly can this year. My friend got a salad.
The verdict? According to my comrade, the chicken parm was too dry. I asked why, and she said it needed more sauce and more cheese. Uh-oh. It looks quite different than it did at the old Nino’s.
My muffuletta panini was pretty good flavor-wise, with authentic Italian cold cuts, provolone cheese and olive salad. However, the texture of the olive salad was disappointing. Instead of olive salad that had been chopped finely, the panini contained whole olives and mild pepperocini peppers. This means I couldn’t taste olive flavor in every bite as I can with a traditional muffuletta.
And of course, the panini wasn’t the regular dinner plate size of my favorite sandwich (although I knew that before I ordered it), and could’ve used more meat and softer bread.
One awesome thing they’ve got going on though, and I’m not sure if they did this in the old restaurant… They bring out a free slice of delicious crusty and soft whole wheat sourdough bread with olive oil for dipping. That was yum!
And to be fair, only when we see the menu they plan to reveal after the soft opening will we know for sure. Here’s hoping the owners will listen to their long-time fans and consider keeping a few lunch items closer to $7 or $8. The ML Team will keep you updated as we find out more.
Nino’s 46, 39 W 46th St (btw 5+6th). 212-719-4015