Small dishes big hit

Published October 3, 2014
The Scranton Times-Tribune

The restaurant business is nothing new for Mike Catalano, the longtime owner of La Trattoria in Scranton and catering company Al Mia Amore in Dickson City.

Now, he has taken on a new venture, Nosh Small Plate Restaurant & Bar in Dickson City. The restaurant’s name is a Yiddish term meaning to snack or eat lightly.

“The food is small, but the conversation is big,” said Mr. Catalano’s wife, Patricia, who is co-owner and general manager of Nosh.

She added that they decided to try the small-plate idea because they like to eat that way and their customers enjoy being able to share several dishes with each other instead of having to choose one main dish.

Mr. Catalano started working with food when he was just 14 at West Side Hospital and then began working with his uncle, Mario Catalano, at La Trattoria, where he has been for about 26 years.

Peaceful oasis

Nosh seats about 70 people, has a full bar and is completely wheelchair accessible. Its soft lighting and colors offer a peaceful “oasis” for its customers, Mrs. Catalano said.

“It’s like a getaway,” Mr. Catalano said.

The flat breads, pasta and even the french fries are all freshly made at La Trattoria and Nosh offers gluten-free options for customers.

The veteran team of chefs at his other restaurants allow Mr. Catalano to dedicate his time to running the kitchen at Nosh, where he comes up with and cooks all of the dishes.

One of Nosh’s dishes, the RumChata scallops, was made almost by accident. When cooking for friends who wanted scallops, Mr. Catalano had to improvise when he had no dry vermouth. He did, however, have a bottle of RumChata, which is a liqueur that uses distilled Caribbean rum and cream with a touch of natural cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and other flavors.

His improvised meal turned into one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, and is also served with warmed brie wrapped in prosciutto.

Unique dishes

The lobster macaroni and cheese and duck bites (a play on classic wing bites) are the other most popular small dishes Nosh offers.

Since its opening in May, Nosh has been a family project. Its small staff includes Mr. Catalano’s son, Nicholas, and Mrs. Catalano’s children, Gerard and Jean Gaughan, who help their parents run the restaurant.

While the long hours are tough — Mrs. Catalano also works as a full-time operating room nurse — the couple agreed that seeing satisfied customers makes it worthwhile.

What does this busy couple do when they have some down time?

“Go out to eat,” they said with a laugh, adding that they like to support local restaurants.

Nosh is open Wednesday through Sunday.
Nosh Small Plate Restaurant & Bar:
280 Main St.,Dickson City
Established: May 2014
Owners: Mike and Patricia Catalano
Cuisine: Eclectic small plate
Price range: $8 to $14
Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4 to 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 4 to 10 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 7 p.m.
Phone: 570-382-8156

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