Nodo restaurant already has locations in the Junction and on St. Clair West serving their brand of casual Italian cuisine, but this Leslieville spot is their first east of the DVP.
Take care to note they don't serve their popular salumi boards here, but their epic calzones are on the menu.
The location was actually inherited from another Italian restaurant, Lambretta, and Nodo hopes to break the Curzon Curse that hangs over this particularly high-turnover corner. Two kitchen areas are visible from the dining room.
Their own design incorporates lots of salvaged items and has a clean, easy, comfy feel.
An upstairs yoga studio has been transformed into a second-floor 40-seat dining room with its own dedicated bar.
This second floor also encompasses a private dining room seating 14.
Arancini Siciliani ($9) are rice balls with a crispy coating of Italian breadcrumbs filled with molten mozzarella, peas, and a ragu di carne of beef, pork and veal. Their distinctive cone shape is apparently what makes them "Siciliani."
Garganelli ($18.50) is a vegetarian pasta option that sees peas, garlic, cauliflower, fontina and breadcrumbs bound together into a gratin-like consistency for a sort of veggie pasta al forno. The result is luscious, toasty and a little sweet.
The Delia is the veggie option out of two choices for $18 calzones. Scratch dough is stuffed with a little pesto, a little light mozzarella, eggplant, and lots of tangy goat cheese.
The dough is crackly and elasticky with a good char on the outside, and a final hit of olive oil on top and a swipe of pesto on the plate set everything off just right.
A Marzocca ($15) is deceptive, the booziness of Cynar hidden under layers of sweet, tropical pineapple, freshly squeezed lemon, and melon liqueur as well as a fragrant rosemary sprig garnish.
Opt for a frothy cappuccino ($4.50) if you're not the cocktail type, or to end your meal. A crunchy, sugary little nodini cookie accompanies.
There are no standard entrees on the menu here like there are at the other locations; instead there are constantly changing soup, risotto, meat and fish features.
Nodo also has a gelato parlour extension in the form of Piccolina Gelato on King West, and should have an alleyway here selling the same gelato as well as a patio in the summer.