Ghibellina: Gnocchetti con Pesto di Cavolo

Ghibellina Gnocchi with Kale Pesto

It’s no secret that Americans have been sustaining a healthy obsession with kale since the super food became a super trend in 2012. Chances are, you’ve had a friend, neighbor or yoga instructor climb onto a leafy-green soapbox to tell you why you should be eating kale … every day.

You’ve probably heard that it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat, can help reduce your risk of certain cancers, and packs in fiber without the calories. Kale me crazy, but what we’d like to throw in there is that it’s cheap, affordable and most importantly, versatile. Virgin kale consumers don’t have to dive into the deep-end by sticking a straw into a raw green smoothie. There are plenty of more palatable ways to sneak kale into your diet.

Enter Ghibellina, the 14th Street newcomer and the Best Thing on the Menu: Gnocchetti con Pesto di Cavolo. Gnocchi as light and fluffy as a Four Seasons down pillow come adorned with kale pesto, walnuts and taleggio. While it’s fun to cut pizza with scissors (one of the better gimmicks we’ve seen in a while),  we were more excited about the kale pesto as a fun take on an Italian classic. The BTM comes in two sizes, so you can enjoy it as an appetizer and still get the full experience of using sheers to slice your main-course pizza pie. We found a gnocchi with kale pesto recipe if you’d like to give it a whirl at home.

Ghibellina was in the same 14th Street draft class as Etto and Le Diplomate, and is faring extremely well. It fits that the Italian gastro pub serving up Tuscan cuisine has found a niche for itself doing happy hour, since the majority of the restaurant is bar seating, with only a few tables tucked away. Their fantastic happy hour is offered Tuesday-Sunday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and specials include 1/2 price pizzas, Imperial Pints (20oz not 16oz) at $3.50-$4.00, $5 wines and $6 specialty cocktails.

We look forward to trying Ghibellina for brunch because we love the quirky nature of an Italian joint serving Challah French Toast.

Gnocchetti con Pesto di Cavolo not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.

If you liked this, you might also like: Firefly and Urbana.

Firefly: Goat Cheese Gnocchi

Firefly: Goat Cheese Gnocchi

Escape for an evening of enchantment and whimsy when you enter Firefly, a true fairytale of a restaurant. Adorned with beautiful birch bark and a central tree, you get the sense that you are in for an ingredient-centric meal that features sustainable food as the star.

Thanks to local-born Chef Daniel Bortnick’s strong command of produce, you can enjoy four seasons of flavor no matter what the month. Spring claims our favorite dessert of warm zucchini bread with basil corn ice cream as well as the halibut served with carrot puree, spring pistou, fingerling potatoes and snap peas. Summer highlights include fried green tomatoes and a farro salad full of a garden’s treasures. There are hints of fall in the smoked lamb shoulder, another winner. Finally, winter is represented in one of Firefly’s signature dishes, a personal pot roast, which we would likely be writing about if it wasn’t 100 degrees.

But the Best Thing on the Menu: Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Morel Mushrooms, Sweet Corn, Squash and Truffle Vinaigrette stands alone atop of the flavor pyramid. Replete with earth-driven umami goodness, this winning dish combines elements of all four seasons. Needless to say, it warranted multiple orders from our table.

In a city that loves customization and catering to dietary needs, Firefly takes their menu options to the next level by offering gluten free dinner, lunch, brunch and dessert menus in addition to the cutest kids menu you’ve ever seen. It appears Chefs Danny Bortnick and Todd Wiss know their clientele, which is made up of primarily locals despite being housed in a Kimpton Hotel.

Think you’ve experienced all the magic once dessert is through? Just wait for the whimsical way they deliver the check.

Goat Cheese Gnocchi not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.