Redo keeps North's creative flavor

From left, friends Leslie Stockton, Jeanne Hoover and Deborah Nevins share lunch on the patio at North Fattoria Italiana. An awning helps keep the midday temp in check.


When we first heard that North restaurant was undergoing a makeover, fear gripped us — well, specifically our stomachs.

The irresistibly crunchy zucca chips, would they make the cut? What about the most amazing beef dish to ever grace a restaurant plate: the meltingly tender short ribs in a decadent red-wine sauce, made even more indulgent with a pairing of creamy mascarpone polenta? Please still be on the menu, please, please.

After an $800,000 redesign last September, North’s revamp to North Fattoria Italiana is intended to evoke a Tuscan farmhouse, from the sprawling space to the menu. Of course, this is a farmhouse as presented by visionary restaurateur Sam Fox. So, it’s sports sleek — red accents from the glossy range hood that runs the length of the exhibition kitchen to the hand-cranked Berkel slicer for the salumi boards.

And, of course, nothing says “farmhouse” quite like plaid-clad servers.

For those who loved the old North, there’s plenty to love about the new North. It may look different, but doesn’t feel appreciably different. Service is still gracious and efficient. It boasts plenty of promising menu additions — different pizzas, new handmade pastas and hand-cured meats. Thankfully, dishes from when the restaurant opened in 2003 are still around, including those zucca chips.


See the full review in Thursday's Caliente along with other restaurant news.