NoMad Italian restaurant showcases ‘forbidden’ mushroom

Cardoncelli, a starter with roasted Cardoncello mushrooms, potato, caciocavallo cheese and truffle tortino. (Photo by Gabe Herman)

BY GABE HERMAN | With all the competition in the New York restaurant business, the NoMad Italian eatery Cardoncello diVino is trying to stand out by being the only restaurant to offer the Cardoncello mushroom, which has unique features and a storied history.

The restaurant, at 43 W. 27th St., between Broadway and Sixth Ave., opened last July. Several menu items include the Cardoncello mushroom, which grows in southern Italy and has a rich flavor and thick, meaty texture.

The restaurant notes on its menu the mushroom’s long history. Ancient Roman poet Horace was apparently smitten with the ’shroom after tasting it, declaring, “This mushroom is so fleshy, so compact, so flavorful! It must certainly be the gods’ food!”

The fungal food would later be banned by the Vatican in the belief that consuming it would lead to sins of the flesh and distract from atonement.

A poster in the restaurant showcasing a Cardoncello mushroom festival. (Photo by Gabe Herman)

But the Cardoncello is still going strong, and apparently is rather hard to come by in America. The restaurant imports it from southern Italy to be featured on its menu.

But there are plenty of other options for those who aren’t mushroom lovers. Starters include a sardine dish, tuna tartare, and chickpeas polenta with goat cheese and sautéed shrimps. Prices range from $15 to $18.

All breads are made in house, as are the pasta dishes, which include fettuccine with Cardoncello mushrooms, linguine with clams, and crab-filled tortelli.

Tortelli filled with crab meat, fresh green peas sauce and lemon zest. (Photo by Gabe Herman)

Main dishes, running from $26 to $35, include seared halibut filet, gold-seared sea scallops, veal tenderloin, and slow-braised Wagyu beef cheek with Cardoncello mushrooms.

There is also a dessert menu that includes several cheeses, drinks and dishes like a coffee crème brulee, and panzerotti, which are small pastries filled with Nutella, honey and almonds.

Also on the menu are panzerotti, above, Nutella-filled baby calzones with truffle honey and toasted almonds. (Photo by Gabe Herman)

The restaurant is in a small space on a block in NoMad (a.k.a. “Madison Square North”) that still feels very industrial over all. Inside, the space is nicely decorated and creates a pleasant atmosphere, including friendly staff and artwork related to the Cardoncello mushroom theme. More information can be found at cardoncellodivino.com.

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