At the recently opened Casa Nonna, pastry chef Julie Elkind comes by way of Convivio and BLT Steak. Her dessert menu puts a sophisticated twist on Italian classics; there's affogato with white chocolate gelato; there's a trio of mini cannoli with vanilla and orange scented ricotta. The highlight, though, is this fine Torrone Semifreddo. A thin layer of almond sponge cake serves as the base for the semifreddo, a whisper-light elegant cylinder incorporating bits of torrone, the Italian confection of honey, sugar and nuts. The semifreddo is purposefully light to balance the dark chocolate, which comes into play when the waiter pours on a silky layer of chocolate sauce tableside. Wait a minute to harden and then crack, like a Magic Shell.
Does the semifreddo look familiar? It should. We had nearly the exact same dessert at the now-closed Alto just a few years ago. I'm delighted to see the torrone semifreddo resurrected at Casa Nonna; it was the single menu item I missed most from Alto.