April 7, 2015

Pasta dinner

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A friend and I were getting together for dinner over a bottle of wine, and as usual we were racking our brains trying to choose a venue.  Wanting something simple, the choice eventually came to Gradini.  This was pretty perfect for me because it's just literally across my office, so I ended up working a little before dinner.

The menu featured plenty of classic dishes, which was just fine with us.  It's always good to gauge a kitchen by how well the classics are executed...

Cesare salada - I was a little disappointed that the salad wasn't prepared tableside, given that the chef originally came from Nicholini's, and that's how Caesar's salad was served there.  Anyway, this was fine, but nothing special.

Linguine alle vongole veraci - I had a bite of my friend's pasta.  Pretty good, but one of the clams I ate had a little bit of sand inside.  Pet peeve...

I took the daily special of linguine with Sicilian red prawns.  I liked the flavors here, with the sweetness of tomatoes plus the goodness of shellfish in the sauce.  Unfortunately the prawns were a little mushy, although they still tasted fine.

Rigatoni alla Norcina piccanti - I also took a bite of my friend's other pasta.  Not bad at all.  I love the Tuscan sausage and the spicy tomato sauce.

Cassata - both of us found this presentation a little strange, and didn't quite like the way this was "deconstructed"...

2004 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino - this wasn't the Riserva, so it was accessible immediately after decanting.  Very sweet on the nose, and slightly sharp and alcoholic at first.  Nice and fragrant nose of forest and black fruits.

A very nice and enjoyable dinner.  Nothing here was mind-blowing or on the cutting edge, but I thought the food was generally pretty solid and reasonable for the price.  Given the dearth of choices in town when it comes to Italian cuisine, I think this is a place I can certainly come back to more often... especially given its location.

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