By this time, I was gaining a fuller understanding of my waitress whom, with her flippant attitude, seemed more interested in one of the line chefs than my gastronomical well being. When she did trouble herself to visit my table, she forgot to ask the second most important question in the server guidebook (the first being "May I take your order?") and never once asked me whether the chef had in fact succeeded in pleasing my palate. Alas, she did remember the first question, and she waited through my order of Bucatini Alla Vodka and Pizza Romana kindly enough.
While the bucatini was a good southern Italian comfort food, the pizza was largely flavorless and otherwise greasy. The bucatini -- a hollow egg pasta -- was served with a tomato sauce carbo-rich in sausage, peas and carrots. Again, the ingredients were less than fresh, so instead of adding a spicy punch to the dish, the sausage's main flavors were grease and starch. The pizza was topped with caramelized onions, red potatoes, whole cloves of garlic, mozzarella and a sauce I could see but not taste. The crust was thin, but not crisp, having instead the texture of a soggy tortilla. The only seasoning that I detected in the two dishes, besides salt and garlic, was parsley (which sustained Karen Carpenter, or so I hear, for quite some time).
And, lest I perish from lack of food, I followed all this up with an incorrectly-frothed latté (Coffee jockeys take note: a latté is characterized by three distinct layers: steamed milk, espresso, and froth on top.) and a dolci, or dessert. Needless to say, the zeppole were overdone, and I found myself dipping the crisp, blackened donut holes in grade A honey instead of the orange glaze sauce that had tempted me. Although I resolve to give Nona's Kitchen a second chance, like a promise to visit an ailing grandparent, it's not likely to happen any time soon.
Nona's Kitchen, 3365 Piedmont Road. 404-261-1312. Open Mon.-Fri. 11:30-2:30 p.m., Mon.-Thurs. 5-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 5-11 p.m., Sun. 5-9 p.m. Cash, credit and local checks accepted.