The mushroom tortelloni at North Italia is everything.

Soon enough, The Original Ninfa's Uptown will be opening at BLVD Place. Scheduled for May, this second outpost for Mama Ninfa's fajitas and other traditional delights will be worth a visit, if only for the fact that it gives people in the western end of the city a closer option.

But, just to get ahead of that, we should remind you that there are already a few pretty good restaurants at BLVD Place, and they're turning out some fine winter dishes. 

I got that gentle reminder while dining at a few spots in the Uptown development, and through no better dish than the pillowy and dainty mushroom tortelloni at North Italia. Upon ordering the plate, my server informed me the restaurant may have been out of the pasta. She ran into the kitchen and spoke with cooks, who happened to be rolling more tortelloni, which I knew because of North Italia's open, glass-walled kitchen. So yes, they were going to have more, and absolutely I wanted that dish.

Maybe it was because it was fresh, but the pasta was at its most tender. Tossed with sweet potatoes that had more than just one flavor, plus Brussel sprouts and hazelnuts, and finished with a generous sprinkling of parmesan, it was the rustic wintry pasta dish I'd been searching for.

Aren't those soufflés just the prettiest?

North Italia isn't the only BLVD Place concept with excellent execution abilities. I had my first Rise n˚2 experience as well, and can we talk about the seasonal cranberry champagne soufflé? The tartness of the cranberry is brought down a few levels thanks to the velvety eggs, and the champagne lends it a brightness that's hard to top. Also on offer during the winter is a duck a'lOrange that's exceedingly decadent and hard to stop enjoying.

There are plenty more reasons to check out BLVD Place before Ninfa's moves in. Sozo Sushi Lounge is hip and cozy, and its rolls are expertly crafted (try the Bluefin Lover, doubling up on tuna with a hint of spice). True Food Kitchen's winter menu includes a hearty pan-seared chicken breast and a redfish over salsa verde and served with kale tabbouleh

So maybe don't wait until the new kid rolls in. If you do, you're going to miss some of the best winter dishes in the city. 

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