In an ongoing effort to stay ahead of the curve, Hingham’s Alma Nove has brought a new type of European flair to its kitchen with the introduction of tapas to the menu.
The Italian restaurant, run by Chef Paul Wahlberg and co-owned with brothers Mark and Donnie Wahlberg, will offer the new late night menu from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. on Thursdays, and from 10 to 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
"After talking to a few of a late night regulars, we realized there was a demand for a selection of smaller plates," Wahlberg said. “It's a really nice option for those looking for a late evening dinner, but not necessarily a full three-course meal."
According to a release, the menu will echo the items already served by the kitchen, featuring Mediterranean and Italian flavors. The plates are available in the bar area.
The small dishes will range from $5 to $9, with items such as braised pork meatball sliders ($8), sauteed shrimp over chorizo and polenta ($9), and steak tartare Nicoise style ($9).
Other dishes will include suppli ($6), an assorted cheese trio ($9), Parmesan herbed frites ($5), and handmade cod cakes ($6).
The new menu, which has been in place since October, is only one of the things the restaurant has done to stay relevant in an ever-changing and ever-expanding industry.
According to Wahlberg, some staples on the menu at Alma Nove are also about to change.
“We’re attacking some of the sacred cows a little bit. You have those dishes that you always think you can’t take away, but the idea is to find something that is better to replace it with,” Wahlberg said. “The true staples of the menu will stay, but [we’re] coming up with new cooking techniques and also new ingredients.”
Changes will include a new fish dish to the menu and a change of many of the specials, which were starting to feel mundane, Wahlberg said.
“[We’re] trying to change things and we’re starting to make more ingredients in house as well,” he said.
The slight shifts in the menu, coupled with the new tapas selections, which Wahlberg said have been popular, are helping the restaurant compete against new restaurants in the area and in Boston, Wahlberg said.
Most important, he said, the strong customer service has helped the restaurant stay successful since it opened.
“There are restaurants everywhere, and even in a down economy, people are continuing to go to restaurants and people were still opening restaurants,” Wahlberg said. “To me, the level of customer service is always relevant. That’s what people want. No one is coming to your establishment for a bad time.”
“It’s all about the customer’s experience,” Wahlberg said. “We’re in the people pleasing business. So for me that’s always the most important thing...I’m not cooking for myself; I’m cooking for the customers.”
For more information on the tapas menu, call 781-749-3353 or visit www.almanovehingham.com.