Appetizer Spotlight: Stewed Octopus at Noodle Pudding
While the name may be off-putting to some, Noodle Pudding is a very popular Italian restaurant in Brooklyn Heights. Located “just a little past the fruits” at 38 Henry Street between Cranberry and Middagh Streets, Noodle Pudding is often packed, with plenty more people waiting for a table to open up.
The no nonsense food is homey, satisfying and reasonable, an anomaly for the posh neighborhood (“the Upper East Side of Brooklyn,” if you would) in which it is located that is not known for destination restaurants. The only real complaint about the restaurant? Cash only (read: mob…just kidding…please don’t hurt me).
While critics and other food bloggers have already raved about the many entrees such as Angus steak, osso buco, butter & sage gnocci, mushroom risotto and rabbit, I think they have overlooked one of the best dishes on the menu: the stewed octopus (polpo). I always start every meal at Noodle Pudding with this appetizer.
The dish is basically giant tentacles that have been braised for hours in a tomato sauce until the octopus is tender. You can seriously cut into this dish with just a butter knife — it is that tender but without losing any flavor. The octopus and accompanying tomatoes it was stewed in is accompanied by a healthy serving of bread to allow you to slop up all the extra goodness along with the octopus. I can’t think of a better way to start off a meal at Noodle Pudding before digging into the entrees for which it is known.