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Monday Night l'Avventura in Cocina at Il Vecchio (Pacific Grove)


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Restaurants & Bars California Italian

Monday Night l'Avventura in Cocina at Il Vecchio (Pacific Grove)

Melanie Wong | | Apr 14, 2013 02:40 PM

A month ago, three of us headed to Pacific Grove to try Il Vecchio for the Monday night $22 prix fixe I’d read about in the Weekly.

A first time for each of us, we found the house rules charming.

Arriving a little early for our 6:30p reservation, I was surprised to find the restaurant nearly full with early diners. Seated in the section of the dining room away from the bar and entrance, we had a clear view of the pass-through from the kitchen.

Our server explained that we would receive five courses determined weekly by the whim of the kitchen and that we’d have a choice to make for the entrée. First up, a rectangle of cheese-y polenta topped with a mushroom ragu. From the size of this, I wondered how we’d make it through all five dishes.

The Tuscan cabbage soup, served with a toasted slice of baguette, was deep and rich with the sweetness of long-stewed fresh vegetables.

The small salad was a refreshing palate cleanser with a lilting vinaigrette, garnished with a spear of English cucumber and slices of orange.

Having watched the kitchen twirl many plates of pasta through the pass, we eagerly anticipated the spaghetti course. Surprisingly, the red sauce was not tomato, but rather a puree of sweet red peppers and onion. Cooked just a notch past al dente the spaghetti peperone was amply sauced. I requested some bread (served on request) to mop up the sauce.

For the entrée, Mom and I picked the seafood option, which turned out to be local rock fish. Sauteed in a red wine sauce, this was a change from white wine with fish and a delicious one. The summer vegetables on the side were more braised than sautéed and had turned mushy.

William had the meat option, half a Molinari Italian sausage link served with a vegetable timbalo.

While we were not that hungry after this repast, I ordered one dessert to share, a slice of crostata di limone, $6. When it was served, our waiter said that it was an extra large piece, actually one and a half-slices worth and the last of the day. The crust turned out to be soggy and the filling oversweetened.

We all agreed that the pasta was the best course and the only one we’d order again. Il Vecchio has a weekday worker’s lunch special offering two pastas and salad for $9 that might be worth a return visit.

With a glass of Vermentino, $7, and a diet coke, the bill before tip came to $88.23. While the meal was enjoyable, nothing really stood-out. In contrast, our tab for the three of us at Restaurant 1833 was $97.60 before tip, or 10% more, and we enjoyed that much more and had food leftover to take home with us.

Il Vecchio
110 Central Ave
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
(831) 324-4282