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Restaurants & Bars 10

La Cicchia (long)

Joan Kureczka | May 20, 2006 12:37 PM

We went with friends to this new Sardinian place which was some of the most interesting Italian food I've had, and very reasonably priced. It's a very small crowded space, but fortunately we had one of the tables at the rear, so quite comfortable and the service was very good.

We started by sharing two of the appetizers: the assorted salumi with music paper bread and a dish of squid in a sauce of mint, olive oil and red wine. The salumi, all of which is house-made at a facility up in Northern Sonoma, included slices of a thin wild boar dry sausage, a salami with some hot pepper that started mild and warmed to a medium heat, and a fabulous salami with fennel. The squid was equally good with the unusual mint sauce, which we found ourselves soaking up with some bread.

We next shared two of the pasta dishes. One was a fregula, a semolina pasta somewhat similar to a large-grain couscous, with clams and saffron. The other -- one of the evening's specials -- was ravioli filled with ricotta and orange zest, in a broth-like sauce of onions and saffron. The first was quite good, but the second was a standout with the intriguing sweetnes of the orange. We all did agree that as much as we loved this dish, it is best shared as one could quickly get tired of the flavors in a larger portion.

We then each ordered entrees, although our friends each had the seabass baked in the pizza oven with olives and bay leaves, and Jesse and I both had the vermentino-braised tuna with fresh tomatos and mint. Both were good, although I think the bass was the winner here.

We ended the evening with their cheese plate, which was three different pecorinos with different amounts of aging.

The wine list is quite interesting with a good representation of Sardinian and then mostly other Italian wines at a variety of price points, including a number of good wines under $30. We left it to the owner to recommend the wines we had which included a vermentino and a second Sardininan white whose name I didn't catch, but which was a standout with the squid and with the ravioli. We also had a Sardininan red -- Cagnulari de Alghero -- which was mostly grenache and quite good.

Not sure of the final price as I didn't see the bill, but it was around $200 total including the tip.

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