Saturday, July 07, 2007

EXTRA VIRGIN varies but satisfies

With yesterday being 7/7/07 I thought we would have a memorable meal, and while the food at EXTRA VIRGIN in Shirlington (Arlington, VA) was very good last night, the service was a bit lackluster. Chalk it up to our server being new or such, but we just needed a little more attention like having our wine poured and getting our courses well properly spaced. I asked for time in between and it almost became over 30 minutes!

Three of us ordered the excellent GRANCIO SOFICIE or Tempura "stile" (that's how THEY spelled it) Soft SHELL CRAB over Arugula with SPICY Tomato Sauce.It was really a crunchy saute with no batter on the crab really emphasizing the shellfish itself and luckily the yummy but very spicy sauce was on the side. The fourth appertizer of simple MELON & PROSCIUTTO turned out to have been in the fridge so long it tasted like it, so they quickly switched it to the Crab on request; well handled and super efficiently!

We started with a refreshing VERDICCHIO from Marche (Italy) 2005 Castelli di Jesi from Garofoli and went on to a wonderful also crisp VERNACCIA di SAN GIMIGNANO 2006 GEOGRAPHICO. With these 90 degree temperatures and such yummy seafood, it seems the only way to go these days.

Our entrees were all superb fish dishes from the BRANZINO in PADILLA (Roasted Sea Bass with Sweet & Sour Eggplant in Yellow Bell Pepper Sauce) to the excellent fleshy Pan-Seared GROUPER with a Yellow Pepper Sauce and a huge VEGETABLE TIMBALE. My SPIGOLA in PADELLA con CARCIOFI E PORRI was a buttery sauteed fillet of WILD ROCKFISH in a lemony sauce of Olive Oil (it said spicy, but was not) loaded with ARTICHOKES & LEEKS.

It was odd that we mentioned we were all headed off to Italy next week and one of the waiters who knew us from before had the chef bring out a plate of complimentary desserts: TORTA al CIOCCOLATO is a warm almond and chocolate cake that is rich, yet not gooey like a fondant, with a scoop of vanilla gelato. The APPLE PIE got varying reviews from all of us, but the AMARINA GELATO made from Amaretto & Cherry was a treat, novel to us all!

We headed to the theater (once we got the bill) after a round of coffee, espresso and excellent cappucino.