A Movie Review: The Missing Ingredient

I was given the opportunity to screen and review a film for the RiverRun International Film Festival. You may ask yourself, why am I reading a movie review on a food blog? Well, it’s because the film is about food, sort of. It’s about two restaurants in New York City; one that was an “institution” and well known with a large repeat clientele and one that is MIngr_posternewer, still trying to find its place and purpose. The film is a documentary called The Missing Ingredient (2015), directed by Michael Sparaga.

Two restaurants. Two stories.

Gino’s, a multi-decade establishment (it opened in 1945), a staple in Manhattan’s Upper East Side achieved international status, partially due to its food, mostly because of the atmosphere and practically because of its red wallpaper adorned with two zebras, the smaller missing a stripe with arrows. It was a busy, no reservation, hipster haven (when being a hipster was cool in the 60s and 70s) that drew celebrities, dignitaries and other important people and was a way of life; probably more than being a restaurant.

Pescatore, is a Midtown Italian restaurant that has been somewhat popular since 1993, but just can’t gain traction and is dealing with stiff competition of other restaurants that are moving in around it, especially since the focus of the neighborhood has shifted. Now, that Charles Divigne, the new restaurateur of Pescatore wants to try other tactics, a different approach to attract new business to his establishment. He decides to “borrow” something from Gino’s. The move is controversial and the reaction is mixed. This film examines why only a handful of eateries of over 24,000, especially in New York, ever reach the status of “institution.” I don’t know that it ever finds its answer but the question is interesting.

The film interviews the former owners, other restaurateurs and long-time regulars of Gino’s about what made the now closed establishment an “institution.” The film explores the reasons for that closure and the emptiness left in the lives of those who called it their second home. Conversely, you hear the perspective of Devigne about his decision-making and the designers quitting in the process, searching for the “missing ingredient” to put his restaurant on the map. You do have to suffer the arrogance of the executive chef of Pescatore (whose name I don’t recall ever being mentioned) and Gael Green, former food critic for New Yorker magazine, but mostly the documentary felt genuine, even when you yourself may question why Devigne does what he does.

Being a lover of food and also being a fan of the behind-the-scenes aspect, this film gave me a lot to go on. I think you’ll enjoy it, too. The film is being shown at 1:00 pm, at the Hanesbrand Theatre, located at 209 North Spruce Street in Winston-Salem. Tickets can be purchased at the Stevens Center Box office or by visiting RiverRunFilm.com.

Bon Appetit!

Spring House Announces Their Spring Menu

Chef Tim Grandinetti posted the new menu from Spring House Restaurant, Bar & Kitchen.

What stands out to me is what appears to be the Spring House version of “Nashville Spicy Chicken.” There is, after all, M-80 sauce, I doubt that is like cool ranch.  But, also, pimento cheese encrusted filet, hanger steak and crab, red-spiced grouper and shrimp? My mouth watered just reading over the menu. The first course selections are “springy,” as well.

I can go on and on, but, I’ll just step back and let you look at the menu for yourself.

12936613_10209611449431381_3588667834168399125_nYou can find more about Spring House Restaurant, Bar & Kitchen here.

Call them for reservations: (336) 293-4797

Follow Chef Tim on Twitter and Instagram: @docbrownstone

Restaurant Week is Back

The Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership’s Restaurant Week is almost here! The new restaurant weekannual event is running this year from Monday, February 22 through Sunday, February 28. The event is to highlight the restaurants as well as our beloved downtown and its fantastic aesthetic and diverse nightlife. Each location will offer specials intended to entice you to try their wares as well as that of their colleagues.

The list of restaurants in the downtown Winston-Salem area is out and available for your perusing. You can see the full details of the event here. To highlight just a few of the establishments and a sample of their specials to whet your whistle:

DiLisio’s Italian Restaurant$30 Special – 1 shared Appetizer, 2 Baked Dishes, 1 Shared Canoli.

Willow’s Bistro & Bar:
$20 Special – 
1st Course: cup of soup or salad
2nd Course: Grilled Scottish Salmon: over wild mushroom risotto, asparagus coins, shaved manchego.
3rd Course: Makers Mark creme brulee with fresh berries

$30 Special –
1st Course: roasted veggies or grilled romaine
2nd Course: Grilled 8oz. Cafe Steak: over gouda mac n cheese, grilled asparagus, & fried onion rings
3rd Course: Sous Vide Banana Pudding

King’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar:
$20 Special – Full Bucket – Dreamy Steamy Bucket: steamed mix of spiced up snow crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, oysters

$30 Special – Bucket for Two – Dreamy Steamy Bucket: steamed mix of spiced up snow crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, oysters

Meridian:
$30 Per Person –
Choice of Starters:
Soup du Jour
Little Gem Artisan Lettuce Salad: with roasted tomato, English cucumber, house made crouton & aged red wine vinaigrette

Choice of Entree:
House Made Pasta of the day(eg. Ravioli, Lasagna, Manicotti)
Pan Seared NC Mountain Trout: with starch, vegetable & sauce
Grass Fed Bistro Steak Lyonnaise: with pommes frites, dressed artisan lettuce & Meridian steak sauce

Choice of Housse Made Dessert:
Bread Pudding: with caramel & creme chantilly
Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
Dark Chocolate Torte with ganache & creme chantilly

Mellow Mushroom:
$20 Dinner for Two –
Choice of 2 lil’ salads (tossed or caesar)
1 medium 1-topping pizza to share
1 brownie sundae to share

$30 Dinner for Two –
Choice of Hummus or Bruschetta appetizer to share
1 large specialty pizza to share
1 brownie sundae to share

Mission Pizza:
$20 Special –
1 pizza of your choice, green salad, and daily dessert

$30 Special –
2 pizzas of your choice OR 1 pizza of your choice and 1 plate of your choice, and dessert

Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar:
Classic Spring House: $20 –
Choice of seasonal soup or HOUSE salad
The Colonel 2.0.16: crispy buttermilk fried chicken atop corn waffle with brown sugar smoked apple infused maple drizzle
Warm Bread Pudding
**please no substitutions

Winter’s Bounty: $30 –
Shrimp and Crab Beignets with Red Beet and Horseradish Remoulade
Choice of seasonal soup or HOUSE salad
Fred Flintstone’s Pork Shank: Savannah inspired red rice with lemon, parsley and dijon bread crumbs and HOUSE pepper jelly
**please no substitutions

Camino Bakery:
$20 Special –
Bag of Krankies whole coffee beans and a loaf of bread of your choice

$30 Special –
Bag of Krankies whole coffee beans, loaf of bread of your choice, and a bottle of Honoro Vera Garnacha

There are plenty more wonderful restaurants participating. Again, see the full list on the DWSP website.

A few disclaimers that are very important here:

*Restaurant Week Specials are dine-in only so, no take outs.
*Restaurant Specials are subject to change and that’s a possibilty. The prices exclude tax and tip. Take care of those who take care of you.
*If you’ve a food allergy, questions about ingredients or any other special restrictions, please check with individual restaurants.
*Restaurant Week Specials are subject to availability; they may, and often do, run out of the Special.
*Please check with restaurants prior to dining if you have questions about the Specials; don’t call the DWSP about it, they’re not in control of that info.
*If they run out of the Special, the restaurant is not obligated to provided a replacement dish.
*Coupons are not accepted in conjunction with these specials. Check with restaurants for coupon policies.

If there is an error on this page, the official restaurant special at the Restaurant is correct; I’m but a guide through the awesome food land and I have been known to almost make a mistake a time or two.

The important thing here? Go enjoy delicious food and support local establishments. You never know who you may see out there!

The Willow’s Wine Dinner Part II

When we last left off, we had imbibed three good wines and some delicious oysters, goat cheese truffles and tilefish with lamb belly at Chef Travis Myers‘ wine dinner at Willow’s Bistro. This time we’ll start off from the second course and on through to dessert. Let’s do it.

Second Course: Crispy Skin

Harmony Ridge Farms Duck Confit Leg with Chef John Bobby‘s (Rooster’s: A Noble Grille) andouille & gnocchi hash, Shore Farm Organic‘s bok choy, more of Fair Share Farms delicious mircogreens, an apricot & cherry mostarda with Lusty Monk Mustard. This was paired with Hartford ‘Russian River’ Pinot Noir.

In the past, I’ve not been a fan of duck. I don’t like dark meat fowl as a general rule. WillowsDinner4However, I have found over the last bit, that I like duck confit (which means it’s cooked in its own fat), perhaps because of the fat. The closer to the bone the meat, the darker it is. This was a very meaty piece of bird and didn’t hold too much of the dark flavor that I don’t like. Again, a good thing. The mostarda with the Lusty Monk Mustard was a great ‘sauce’ to go with the gamy bird. I did wish there was more of the bok choy, but, again, the secret weapon of the dish was the inclusion of the microgreens. It’s amazing how much difference that itty-bitty plant can make. There’s a strong yet subtle (if that’s possible) flavor that rushes out from the microgreens. Overall, one of my favorite dishes of the night. Definitely, my favorite wine of the evening. I’ve always been a white and sweet wine kind of guy but both Stephanie and I agree that we’re becoming real fans of Pinot Noir. This one, was jammy and we really liked that.There was definite fruit flavor here and it went perfectly with the duck. I kind of wish it had been the wine for the main course.

Palate Cleanser: Moss Farms Granny Smith & Calvados Sorbet

WillowsDinner5Made with Cloister Honey‘s wildflower honey, Sea Love Sea Salt and an apple crisp garnish. This was a perfect palate cleanser. Cool, flavorful, sweet and that little sliver of crisp apple was surprisingly apple-y. I didn’t expect that to have as much flavor as thin it was, but it was great. It did its job, cleansed the palate, gave a sweet break from the savory and wine and prepared us for the main course. No alcohol was included in this course, and rightly so.

Main Course: Carolina Bison 3-hour Braised Short Ribs

The large block of tender bison was accented with a cauliflower puree and wilted Dino kale, roasted parsnips, Let It Grow Produce‘s persimmon preserves, Fair Share Farms microgreens, Sea Love Sea Salt and a savory, natural jus. This is paired with a Ferrari-Carano ‘Trésor’ Red.

The kale with this dish was unusual for me. I find kale to be somewhat offensive, usually, but with the savoriness of the jus and the cauliflower puree, it was more there for flavorful texture than anything else, at least to me. The toasted parsnips are like crunchy WillowsDinner6curly-cues. The bison fell apart as I cut it to take a bite. Its temperature was perfect. Once again, the secret weapon was the microgreens. I know you’re tired of hearing me go on about the microgreens but they are truly an amazing supercharge to the savory dishes we’ve encountered tonight. While we did like the ‘Trésor’ Red, it didn’t have the same depth of flavor as the Hartford Pinot Noir. I mentioned this, but I would have rather had that with this, but the Ferrari-Carano wasn’t a bad choice. It did bring the bison to the forefront and set its profile off. Great dish, Chef.

Dessert Course: Sticky Toffee Cake

Red molasses ice cream, Willow’s candied pecan soil, date gastrique, orange zest, vanilla & date sablès and a pickled Bradford Watermelon rind. It was paired with Gloria Ferrer‘s ‘Va de Vi.’

WillowsDinner7The watermelon rind was chewy and tart. I do think it was at odds with the overall dessert, but it didn’t offend the idea, at all. The red molasses ice cream was hard to keep on the “cookie” top as both slid from the “soil” base and the ice cream was starting to melt. I think the ice cream was the star of this dish, though. So, melting or not; sliding or not, the ice cream was fantastic. The ‘Va de Vi’ is a bubbly blend of the Pinot Noir grape and chardonnay with just a hint of moscato. It went well with the sweeter fruits in the dessert.

We have been privileged to have been involved with so many tastings lately. I don’t report on them to say, ‘hey look what we did’ as much as I am trying to  bring awareness to the beautiful and exquisitely flavored dishes that the chefs in our town are creating. Those chefs taking their visions and creating masterpieces of gastronomical proportions are the ones that stand out; the ones I highlight. As Chuck King, from American Premium Beverage said during this event: “this gives the chef’s a chance to show off,” and I think he’s absolutely correct.

These are called wine dinners but it’s more about the food, in my eyes (and mouth). I will say that Chuck did a great job in picking the right vino accompaniment, though. But, the real star is the food. I believe my two favorite dishes were the fish course (because of the lamb belly) and the duck confit. The duck may move ahead slightly just because of the Pinot Noir. Much thanks to Chef Will Kingery and Chef Myers for being the gracious hosts they are. Much thanks, too, to the talented kitchen staff, the bartenders, the dish washers and the awesome servers that were always there to make sure that our waters were filled, our silverware was always replaced and when minute errors happen, they were the ones to make things right (there was only one little snafu that’s not even worth mentioning, it was that minute). Willow’s is a class act and this was their way of showing off. So, I say show off!!

Willow’s Bistro is located at 300 South Liberty Street, Suite 125 in Downtown Winston-Salem. Keep an eye on their Facebook page, Chef Myers and Chef Will’s Twitter and/or Instagram pages and you’ll know when the next pairing dinner will be.

Former Winston-Salem Shop Gets AMBUSHed

When Justin and Sarah Hummell were in Winston-Salem, they owned Cafe Roche Coffee Shop in Ardmore (where Ardmore Coffee is now). They were the “Official Coffee Sponsor” of the pop culture podcast that I produce called The Less Desirables. We were heartbroken when they moved away to start SiP Bistro, but we were glad they were following their dreams. They are now in Holly Springs, NC.

This past week, SiP was taken over by the Food Network’s makeover show, “Restaurant Impossible: AMBUSH” hosted by Chef Robert Irvine and produced by former Double Dare (and Family Double Dare) host, Marc Summers. They were featured in the Triangle, NC’s own News & Observer. I’ll let that article speak for itself. Be warned, the article was kind of poorly written, but it tells the story. Enjoy! And, much congratulations to Justin and Sarah! We miss you guys!

Read the article here.

The Willow’s Wine Dinner Part I

On January 31, we attended a wine dinner at Willow’s Bistro. An elegant dinner with delicious food, lush wines and fantastic community. Owner Will Kingery was a gracious host welcoming around fifty food enthusiasts and letting his star chef, Travis Myers, willows-logo_optshow off his culinary super skills. Chuck King, from American Premium Beverage was there to guide us through the wine adventure while Chef Myers enlightened us to his culinary treats. Some notable food names that were in attendance was Tony and Maria Dilisio, from DiLisio’s Italian Restaurant (I’m sure you’ve read about them here before), local “don’t call him a foodie” food enthusiast, Carroll Leggett and Winston-Salem Journal’s very own food editor, Michael Hastings, who we had the pleasure of having with us at the table at which we were seated.

In this two-part reflection, I’ll give you an idea of what you missed and why you should be on the lookout for the next pairing event happening at Willow’s Bistro.

Amuse Bouche: Roasted Old Salt – Rappahannock Oysters 3 Ways

This was paired with Gloria Ferrer Brut

I believe the consensus around the table was that we all enjoyed the roasted garlic, truffle butter and caviar the best. It was the most balanced. Not that flavor was an issue in any of the three, this was just the clear-cut winner. The bubbly Brut was a good pairing with the oysters.

First Course: Goat Cheese Truffles

Goat Lady Dairy goat cheese rooled in Willow’s own crushed candied pecans, port poached figs & pears, frisée, Fair Share Farm microgreens, Cloister Honey wildflower honey & lemon vinaigrette.  This was paired with Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc.

The goat cheese was tangy but those flavors were tamed a bit by the candied pecans, but I WillowsDinner2don’t mean that it dumbed it down. I just mean that some people don’t like the tang of goat cheese. Instead, they want their cheese to be more savory, yet not void of the creaminess that goat cheese offers. This dish preserved that tang while adding a crunch and when paired with the port poached figs and pears and the honey and vinaigrette gives a breadth of tang and savory.  The Sauvignon Blanc made the whole dish, especially the tangy cheese, sing.

Fish Course: NC Golden Tilefish

Tilefish with a puree made of Evangeline sweet potatos from Hunter Farms, “dip” beurre blanc liquid ravigote (which means reinvigorated) drops, the secret weapon, microgreens and manchego cheese shavings. The best part of the dish – something you’d not expect to WillowsDinner3go with fish – is a bit of Border Springs lamb belly prepared Lexington BBQ “style.” Lamb belly with tilefish? Well, yes, exactly BBQ’d lamb belly with tilefish. It was the fish course, to be sure, but the lamb belly stole the scene. The tilefish was quite meaty and worked with the sweet potato puree and the beurre blanc sauce. That would have stood up on its own, but once you add the lamb belly the flavors jumped into the sapor exosphere. The manchego was a somewhat odd addition and it probably wouldn’t have mattered had it been missing, but what would be missed, the microgreens and the lamb belly. This dish was paired with Stonestreet ‘Bear Point’ Chardonnay.

This was the first three of the six (with a palate cleanser) courses. I’ll catch you up on the rest of the courses in the next post. Part II will be here, soon and i promise it will be worth it!

Goodbye Tart & Tangy Triad, Hello to…

Since July, 2013, I, along with my wife, Stephanie and local food celebrity, Nikki Miller-Ka, have been co-hosting a food podcast that focused on the Triad, NC and surrounding areas. Tart & Tangy Triad has been the food podcast on The Less Desirables Network. We focused on food news and provided our own food views. We’ve had a few local chefs as guests over the years. We’ve broken news of restaurant openings, closings and chef changes. We’ve attended events and reported on what we learned or did. And, we’ve done a lot of restaurant reviews.

Well, allow this post to be the official announcement from The Less Desirables Network, that Tart & Tangy Triad, is no more. Nikki and The Beemans have decided to pursue different endeavors. We are retiring the name Tart & Tangy Triad, although it will remain property of The Less Desirables Network.Fear not, Nikki will be starting a new vlog coming late spring/early summer, 2016.

Also, The Less Desirables Network will not be without a food podcast for very long. And this is why I’m writing this blog post, today. The new food podcast will be called… wait for it… “The Man Who Ate the Town: a Food Podcast.” I will be enlisting the help of local food folks including chefs, other food writers and everyday food fans to make this show more “your” show and focus on only a few topics every week; not to overload the “palate,” if you will. No more ninety minute shows. The plan is to keep it to around 15-25 minutes, max. No fillers, no preservatives. Additionally, in conjunction, there will a very short video to accompany the podcast and this blog. I will be requisitioning the name “Appetizer” from Tart & Tangy Triad as the name of that video.

The start date hasn’t been determined as of yet, but I do envision the podcast and video starting around the first week of May; perhaps at the same time, perhaps not. Of course, the blog will continue as usual, and the plan is to up the frequency of the posts. So, tell your friends, read up and prepare to listen and see more of The Man Who Ate the Town in your near future. We, the former Tart & Tangy Triad, appreciate all of the listeners of the podcast and and watchers of the video. Followers of our Twitter and Facebook accounts, we thank you, too. I can’t wait to see and hear from you all on the new endeavor and I hope you’d follow those of this blog. You can find my Twitter, here. The Facebook, here.

Thank you all for everything.

A Krispy Kreme Barista? You Better Believe It

Think that only that coffee company from Seattle and the local café are the only places that have “baristas” to guide your craft coffee needs to new heights? That may be the way that it has always been but the times, they are a-changin’ and that change is being spearheaded by a local original, Krispy Kreme.

What? Krispy Kreme has coffee? Surprise! Krispy Kreme has always had coffee. Since 1937, when the company started in Old Salem, they’ve had coffee to go with those doughnuts. It’s just never been the focus, at least not from the customers’ point of view. Krispy 12642774_1016210518439851_9082411962573681754_nKreme is hoping to change that perception and change it in a big way; unlike anything this area knows of its favorite yeast-based, hometown treat and shops.

There are several Krispy Kreme locations in the Triad, NC area but there’s only one in the region that has baristas and that shop is in Clemmons, NC. In fact, according to Kelley O’Brien (Interactive Media), it’s the only place, at all, company- (and world) wide, other than the Philippines and Korea that has baristas. These baristas are trained how to make the coffee drinks and how to pair them with the various styles of doughnuts and other treats that Krispy Kreme offers. It was at this Clemmons location that I, along with several other food bloggers and media representatives enjoyed a sampling and tasting of the new coffee offerings, along with a pairing of the roasted liquid deliciousness and doughy delights the company has to offer.

Two of the baristas in this shop, Ulanda and Demarcus, came from the big coffee company that is located in the Pacific Northwest and are showing their talents off at Krispy Kreme. This isn’t just plain coffee, either, it’s cappuccino, lattes, mocha, Americano, espresso drinks and so on. It’s like other cafés, except, this café has awesome Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

Krispy Kreme understands that to compete with the big boys of coffeedom, they have to bring in some big boys of their own. In this case, they brought in S&D Coffee and Tea out of Concord to roast, condition and supply them with their coffee products. S&D Coffee and Tea are the largest custom roaster in the country, so they know coffee. Sustainability and 12645224_1016211241773112_3385366472348831281_nfair trade are becoming a more and more prominent concern with a wide breadth of commodities. When asked about sustainability, Toby Foreman (Director of Manufacturing for S&D) said that this is part of the ever-evolving focus of the environmental awareness of the company. According to S&D’s website, the company is working very hard eliminating unnecessary waste of energy, water and resources, establishing sustainable supply chains and engaging in the innovation and development of long-range solutions. Another representative (Glen, although I didn’t get his last name) also said that they are working with many growers in various harvesting locations to ensure better fair trade practices.

The head of Global Marketing, Amy Harp, explained that the reason this store was chosen as the “sandbox” or testing grounds. Simply put, it was already being built. And, since the location is merely minutes away from the Krispy Kreme worldwide, corporate headquarters, it’s easy to keep tabs on the progress, trends and circumstances as they happen. It was a matter of halting the plan, adjusting the layout, implementing the changes and voila, a new vision realized. This is the laboratory for what Krispy Kreme sees as the future of their business; not just the coffee but the store model.

So, next time you’re wanting a treat of a different flavor, with coffee that is beyond plain and ordinary, or if you’re looking for that big coffee shop experience with a delicious treat that is unlike any other, you should check out Krispy Kreme, not only in Clemmons but coming soon to your own local shop. The Clemmons shop is located at 2442 Lewisville-Clemmons Rd.

DiLisio’s Wine Dinner, January 2016 Edition

by Timothy G. Beeman II20160117_180828

On Sunday, January 17, 2016, Stephanie and I, along with our dear friends, Paul and Susan Jones, attended the January Edition of DiLisio’s Wine Dinner Series. It was a Five-Course event complete with French and Californian wines. The restaurant was completely packed full of lovers of delicious foods and beverages. There was plenty of time to converse with the new friends that were seated around you in this “family style” dinner format. I’m going to include a description and pictures of the event.

First Course: Roasted Mission Figs with Gorgonzola and Bacon accompanied by Fennel Blood Oranges

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1st Course

I’ve never really been a fan of figs, but this was delicious. The figs were earthy and creamy but still firm. The flavors of fennel and blood oranges, along with the figs were brought to the front with the salty bacon. I have to admit, though, I didn’t taste a lot of the Gorgonzola, which I really hoped to catch more of. However, it was a good mix of sweet and savory. It was paired with a Bouvel Brut from Loire Valley. Nice bubbly with plenty of fruit flavor.

Second Course: Macco di Fave with Cauliflower Crostini

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2nd Course

Less of a soup but more of a puree. Two different kinds of fave beans with crushed cauliflower and crunchy bread. It was warm throughout and while I generally don’t eat crunchy bread but when left in the warmth it softened and was flavored quite well. A great dish. It was paired with the Terra d’Oro Chenin Blanc/Viognier blend from Clarksburg.

Third Course: Scottish Salmon served with a Carrot Mint Puree, Brussels Sprout Petals and White Chocolate drizzle

20160117_192154

3rd Course

This is by far the most beautiful of the dishes on the night’s menu. Also included is nuts and raisins. The white chocolate really set the flavor of the salmon alight and the carrot mint puree was exquisite. A nice touch was the edible orchids, which, on my plate, were gone immediately as I am a fan. The Brussels Sprouts petals were very light and not popping with flavor, which I think was the point. The raisins and nuts brought a chewy and crunchy aspect to the dish that, while I normally am not a fan of nuts in softer foods, I thought were a welcome unexpectedness. It was asked of Tony DiLisio at least twice for that to be on the regular menu. It was paired with Row 11 Vinas 3 Pinot Noir from California. And contrary to the commercial Pinot Noir does not mean “peanut of the night.” A tasty fruit-forward red that polished the salmon and white chocolate, perfectly.

Fourth Course: Lamb Chop over Wild Mushrooms, Grilled Polenta and Spinach with a Pomegranate Balsamic Glaze

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4th Course

This. This was the dish of the evening. The lamb chop was a fantastic and luscious piece of meat and the pomegranate balsamic glaze was a magnificent marriage of the sweet and savory. Perfectly prepared meat over a polenta cake which was crisp on the outside and creamy inside. This with the spinach and mushroom medley, the flavors were immaculate. This was being asked, more than any other dish, about its potential for being a permanent fixture. Tony explained to me that the lamb takes so long to make that it would probably be best as a special and not as much a full-time entree. This wonderful dish was paired with Domaine Galevan “Le Puy Saint Martin” from Vaucluse. Another red, which made the pomegranate sauce pop and the flavorful juices from the meat even more intense. Deliciously so.

Fifth Course: Espresso Mousse with Pistachio Shavings

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5th Course

Served in a coffee cup, this foamy, whipped wonder was topped with a collection of crushed pistachio and two coffee beans. A dessert that was rich and creamy that was plenty on the java essence and abundant. This finisher was the brilliant conclusion of a most excellent evening. Paired with Beran Zinfandel from California, a which, to me, had a slight vanilla hint made the chocolate and coffee hints of the mousse stand out even more. Other than the absolute-must of lemon sorbet, this would be the second best dessert that I’ve ever had at DiLisio’s Italian Restaurant. If you see it on the menu, you must try it.

As always, my wife and I left happy, satisfied and a belly full of wine.  DiLisio’s Restaurant and their kitchen staff as well as (and especially) their wait staff did a superb job of keeping our drinks full and our plates fresh or freshly removed. They were always good with a quick poke or rib with me and seemed to do a good job with everyone else as well. Taking care of forty plus ingesting and imbibing customers isn’t always easy but Jillian, Stacy, Caroline, Debra and Hailey did a fantastic job keeping us all in perfect order.

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Maria and her “girls.”

Tony and Maria DiLisio, as always bring some the best and freshest Italian food you’re going to have in our fair city. You’d be doing yourself a disservice if you never try DiLisio’s Restaurant. They’re open every day but Monday and you can find them at 301 Brookstown Ave., Suite 100 and on the web. Thank you Tony and Maria for throwing a heck of a soiree.