Most Italian food lovers are familiar with the potato-y goodness known as gnocchi.

For those who aren’t familiar, gnocchi is a kind of little potato dumpling served as a pasta dish, often with a tomato sauce.

Plain gnocchi is tasty enough by itself, although you can often find different takes on the traditional variety, such as sweet potato gnocchi.

But Kaleidoscope Café in Lawrenceville has my favorite take on this treat: deep-fried gnocchi.

It’s a staple of the restaurant’s menu, but owner and Chef Dan Robinson says he didn’t initially set out to offer it.

“I didn’t know for sure that I was going to try it,” he said.

He said he first intended to offer a kind of fried potato cake he would make with left over mashed potatoes.

“I was like, these are going to take off!” he said. “And they didn’t.”

However, despite the difficulty of deep-frying gnocchi (Robinson recommended checking out this hilarious video to prove it), he’s been able to master the dish.

I recommend trying Kaleidoscope Café’s gnocchi not only because it’s delicious, but it’s extremely light, contrary to what you might expect.

Even though it’s fried, traditional gnocchi is boiled like pasta and all of the water absorbed by each piece can make the dish very heavy and the gnocchi gummy in texture.

But Robinson doesn’t boil his gnocchi, instead offering a plate of lightweight, cheese-dusted potato pillows.

What he does is make gnocchi from scratch, freezes it and then deep-fries it.

“It crisps up the outside,” Robinson said, comparing it to something closer to a beignet than pasta.

After it’s fried, the gnocchi is dusted with a coating of Romano cheese and served with homemade marinara.

It’s listed on the restaurant’s small plates menu and is easily shared by two people (although I could easily eat several plates myself) and won’t break the bank at $7.

Kaleidoscope Café is located on 43rd Street in Lawrenceville and is open Tuesday through Saturday.

If you want more, I suggest trying just about anything on their unique menu, which includes a duck cannoli and some new items such as a sweet potato pasta served with goat cheese, curry polenta and maple barbeque pork tenderloin.

You can check out the rest of the menu here.

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