Friday, December 21, 2007

the restaurant experience

my parents are visting this weekend. today is also my mom's birthday. to celebrate the occasion, i gathered opinions on restaurants to find the perfect place for dinner. when people at work suggested i drop the magazine connection to secure a table i decided it wasn't a bad idea. i made reservations at centro vinoteca, a west village restaurant i heard good things about.

i mentioned to my parents that it would be great if they seated us in a nice section because of the name drop. sure enough, they led us upstairs to the more private dining area, took our coats, sat us down, and gave us the menus. we decided amongst ourselves that we'd try two of the piccolini before our entrees: the truffled deviled eggs (which i'd heard great things about) and the eggplant cakes. i was unsure whether or not the portions would be big enough or if we had to order a dish from each course.

but before we could say cipolline, they had placed four dishes of piccolini in front of us: truffled deviled eggs, pate, arancine, pumpin cakes with goat cheese, and a gorgonzola cake (i think). all compliments of chef anne burrell. it was then i realized "oh shit i hope they don't think i'm that important." we ate everything and placed our orders. my dad decided to get the oxtail cake as an appetizer after i mentioned the rave reviews i'd heard about them. in addition to the cake, they brought the seppioline salad. i'm not huge on seppioline, but the squash, pumpkin seeds, and salad underneath were amazing.

as if that wasn't enough, after clearing the antipasti, they brought two first course dishes: ravioli with sage butter (by far the best thing i've had in a long time) and pici pasta with sweet and spicy sausage ragu.

finally, FINALLY, after finishing the pasta, we had something we actually ordered-- my dad the rabbit involtino, my mom the rosemary crusted baby chicken, and i the tortellini (though i think it's funny i didn't order anything from the secondi menu).

we all agreed that, while we consumed a lot, none of us were stuffed. enough room for dessert. my dad had the hazelnut cake with nutella mousse, i had the green apple and crystallized ginger prosecco float, and my mom had some flavored gelatti (complete with a birthday candle).

i will most definitely send the chef a nice thank you note on magazine letterhead come monday.

and the funny part is, i can't even begin to tell you how much i had to reference the online menu while writing this to get the terminology right and to figure out what i was eating.

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