Missed Calling?

Novitra Bistro brings another Italian BYOB to Philadelphia, albeit with hints of Morocco. City Paper’s David Snyder suggest that maybe that’s what they should focus on.

[Chef/co-owner Hassan] Zanzoul, a native Moroccan, cut his teeth cooking in Italy for roughly 10 years before attending the French Culinary Institute. And, much like the décor of this 36-seater — artwork featuring Italian and French street scenes alongside Moroccan pots nestled discreetly in dark corners — the menu reflects a triumvirate of influences. “My menu is very open for everybody,” Zanzoul said.

But homogeneity has its price. I understand why restaurants continue to be tempted to employ the Italian BYOB model — somehow, after all of these years, it still works. But many Philadelphians are looking for an antidote to the formula. And it’s disappointing to see something that could help to meet that need — a stand-alone Moroccan place, perhaps? — be diluted by more of the same.

Missing Morocco [City Paper]