Tuesday, August 01, 2006

going great at GALILEO

I'm not sure what's up with the Italian restaurants in DC this past week, but for the second time out in less than a week we had a/c problems and had to dine in 85+ degree temps. That aside, we had a near perfect meal at Galileo last night celebrating the 50th birthday of one of our dearest friends.

We started with a toast of NICOLAS FEUILLATTE ROSE CHAMPAGNE N/V which did quench our thirst and cool us off. We then moved on to an excellent refreshing CHARDONNAY from CASCINA ORSOLINA "Frustanera" 2003. Its warm amber color had hints of apple and melon but a completely dry and delightful finish. A perfect pairing for our seafood appetizers, but I couldn't help but notice that the variety and numbers of white wines on the list has drastically shrunk from our past visits.

LE CAPESANTE con PACETTA SALTATE-Sauteed Scallops wrapped in Pancetta with a Ragu pf Asparagus, Zucchini, Chicheria Beans and Cherry Tomato with Garlic Sauce, and the totally AMAZING LE MOLECCHE con Rapini, MAIALE a Salsa Al Senape-SOFT SHELL CRAB dusted with Polenta served with Cured and Slowly Poached Pork Belly, Sauteed Rapini and Mustard Sauce. The huge dusted crabs were fun and crunchy and meaty and the small cube of pork belly was a nice contrast, but it was the creamy but mild mustard sauce (we had to ask for extra) that made this dish a supreme hit!

For our pasta course (we split two orders) we moved to red: BARBARESCO TETTI di NEIVE SCARPA 1989 was full and smooth with lots of fruit and hint of anise; this big wine worked well with our strong pastas, but drank perfectly in between courses as well.

GLI CAVATALLI di RICOTTA con Rapini, Cozze Vongole e Salsa all'Aragosta were beautiful homemade Ricotta Cavatelli which are like elongated gnocchi that are quite filling. The Lobster Tomato Sauce was a bit spicy and just right with the excellent clams, mussels and rapini. LE RAVIOLI di VITELLO con Salsa al Burro e Salvia were pillow raviolis filled with Veal and vegetables served in a delicious butter-sage sauce.

Our big wine was another 1989 BRICCO BRUNATE BAROLO from Bruno Ceretto that was simply one of the most elegant and tasty wines we have had in ages! This wine can be drunk with anything, and it worked wonderfully with the strong fish as well as the rabbit: IL PESCHE SPADA SICILIANO was a braised SWORDFISH on Traditional Sicilian Vegetable Sauce of Onions, Green Olives, Celery, Capers, Tomato, Raisins and Pine Nuts with a touch of Red Wine Vinegar & Sugar --need I say more.

My CONGLIO ai TRE MODO was a brilliant concept with RABBIT THREE WAYS being a Roasted Loin wrapped in Pancetta, a Sauteed Rack and the most exquisite MILANESE layered with Prosciutto and Gruyere Cheese then Sauteed Crispy and served with Braised Cipollini Onions & Rosemary Sauce. While it was all superb the latter was a creamy concoction that would make Milan very proud, not to mention Chef Amy Brandwein!

The only part of the evening that did not live up to this excellent cuisine were the desserts. The Gelati were offered and ordered, but then served without the one scoop of chocolate requested (we were finally told they were out of chocolate). My MOUSSE di FRTUTTA di PASSION was a decent but unexciting passion fruit mousse on a citrus shortbread cookie. The best summer dessert still remains to be the PINEAPPLE CARPACCIO that is tart and refreshing and everything a fruit lover could want.

Kudos to our excellent waiter Alexei and the entire staff that kept the enjoyable and long meal perfectly paced. A glass of LIMONCELLO sent us home very full, very happy and alas, still very hot!