Each year the prices go up and the offerings go down at local restaurants on Valentine's Day, so we decided to head out with some friends and forego the romantic atmosphere. We always like AL DENTE about 3 minutes away and last night, Chef Roberto Donna was managing a packed house aided by his super-manager Cliff and a team of great servers. The lines were evident, but folks were seated quickly and food was superb. The deal here was three ourses for $49.95. Yes, it's a tad more than restaurant Week, but a great deal if you were having a $25 or so entrée. Add this to Sunday Wine specials at 1/2 price for bottles over $50 and you have BIG savings.
Samuel went right for his gnocchi with pork sausage ragu and his friend Oliver gobbled up almost an entire pizza.
Will & I Started with margaritas; traditional for him and the Mele-Rita for me made with Jose Cuervo Gold, Honey, Solerno Blood Orange Liquor and Lime---a great variation that was tasty for sure.
To start, Will had the Prosciutto di Parma with Burrata, Honey and EVOO which was a huge late of some of the most tender, soft and supple prosciutto ever. Our friend, Stephen & I both had the filling Ribollita, a rich hearty soup of beans and kale that was just right in the less than 20degree temps! Sadly, we were so full after just one bowl.
After a nice rest the entrees arrived and Will had his Quattro Staggione Pizza which has olives, mushrooms, and artichokes in each quadrant, but he switched the ham for pepperoni. The pizzas here are some of the best in town and are way more than a meal. Stephen had the superb Grilled Branzino with Sauteed Spinach and a yummy Salsa Verde, while I went for the special of Pork Cheeks in Rich Chianti Reduction over Mashed potatoes that I ended up taking a good half of home as I was indeed so full from the soup.
Our wine was a superb Palladino Nebbiolo d'Alba 2011 from Serralunga d'Alba that was velvety and full of flavors that worked ideally with the pork and pizza.
Desserts were the always awesome Al Dente Tiramisu and a yummy rich Panna Cotta with Sour Cherries and whipped cream (which I skipped).
A Valentine's Day meal that would make anyone on a budget happy and full to boot.