Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bistro Bella Vita, Restaurant Week - 8/16/13

It's a Friday night, the four of us are looking to meet for dinner, and it's Restaurant Week when you can enjoy three courses for $25.00 at many area restaurants. There were so many restaurants with great offerings but being last minute people we had to find one that was open to take reservations that day. And Bistro Bella Vita it was.
Our options of adding to the 3-course meal menu special were a bread-jam-butter choice or a cheese course but we went to the main menu for antipasta - Italian meats, artisan cheese, garnishes, & crostinis. We've had it here before and it never disappoints.
Then we selected from the 1st course options from the 3-course menu: three of us chose the House Made Sausage (cotechino sausage, brussel sprouts, apple mostarda, pecorino),
and one chose the Albacore Cruda (cerignola olive tapenade, brown butter crouton, lemon mignonette).
Both dishes were beautifully presented and there was nothing to complaint about. But we were soon on to our second course options. One order of Amatriciana (house made guanciale, farm tomato sauce, gnudi, parsley, pecorino) was placed upon our server's recommendation but it ended up not being a favorite of ours. Guanciale (pig cheek) was too fatty. The few lean pieces were overwhelmed by the tomato sauce, which was delicious in its own right. The gnudi (a lighter, cheesy type gnocchi) was exquisite, however.
The next choice fared better - Cioppino (shrimp, lobster boudin, scallop, salmon, mussels, romanesco, fennel, heirloom tomato, in lobster-chili broth). Ordering seafood in the midwest is always a risk but tonight's offering was fresh and tasty, and the romanesco was a nice touch (Roman broccoli, a variant of cauliflower).
The last two diners both selected the S & S lamb "Paella" - lamb chop, roasted lamb, lamb sausage, and braised lamb, accompanied by peas, peppers, saffron basmati, and smoked tomato vinaigrette. That was a lot of lamb, but there were no mutton complaints, and the rice and vinaigrette made for a very nicely balanced dish. 
Third course was dessert and three of us chose the panna cotta (summer berries/granola) and one selected the chocolate tart (peanut butter pastry cream/sea salt caramel/white chocolate).
This is one of our favorite restaurants and tonight confirmed that. Our server was attentive and knowledgeable, and the food was creative and interesting. Their sister restaurants, The Green Well and The Grove, are also part of The Essence Restaurant Group who emphasize natural and local, sustainable business practices, and it shows. 

 Bistro Bella Vita on Urbanspoon

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