Monday, January 28, 2008

Restaurant Week - Branzino's

We went to Branzino's for Restaurant Week. Outstanding from start to finish and the plan is to return, but not on a Tuesday or Wednesday because our waiter is off those days.

This is a tiny split level Italian restaurant that really packs the tables in, though that might have been for Restaurant Week. They called the day before to confirm the reservation and to kindly let us know that during this extremely busy week, diners are allotted 1 1/2 hours for dinner. The hostess was quick to point out that during normal times, patrons are given how ever long they like.

It turns out that the time provided was perfect for two people, though there was little break between courses. We brought along a bottle of Lucas & Lewellen 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon. It paired perfectly with the meal, at least to our untrained palettes. The wine was smooth, fruity...with hints of cherry? Blackberry? Imaginaberry? First course was grilled squid and beef carpaccio. The squid was smoky and lemony and the carpaccio was...well...raw. Delicious and peppery.

After a quick brush with the crumb blade, and a passing comment from the waiter that we left no crumbs - it was too good to leave even a single crumb behind, the main entrees were brought out. Salmon Dijon, of which I had a small taste (no small feat mind you...) was actually quite tasty. The Veal del Martini was sweet and smoky and the crust almost reminded me of maple syrup.

Dessert was the same for both of us, the custard, served at room temperature with blueberries and strawberries. This was so smooth and not overly rich. You didn't want the bowl to end.

On the way back to the car, we decided to venture into Naked Chocolate. After passing it three times on the street, we finally made it in to the cafe. There we enjoyed a classic drinking chocolate and peanut butter nudo, as stuffed as we already were. We shared a table with two other very nice people, who were kind enough to not be completely turned off by our somewhat inebriated attempts at coherent conversation.

The walk back to the car led us past a view of City Hall (from Walnut) that had to photographed, of course. I'll post it as soon as I download it off the camera...provided that it is a shot worth posting. I was having a tough time holding still for a longish exposure. Damn delicious wine.

The night wound down with some TV and more good conversation and The Jack playing with wire.

It was late, well past my bedtime, and I headed home, in perhaps the best mood I have been in for a long, long time. Thanks for great night.

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