We went to Ristorante Pesto last Thursday evening with some friends. All-in-all we enjoyed it and I would go back. Here's the deal...
Appetizers (which we passed around the table):
I ordered an antipasto platter that consisted of sliced meats (4 slices each of prosciutto, salami, mortadella, and imported capicola) a few mozzarella balls, some cubes of sharp provolone and parmagiano cheese. It was topped by some shredded roasted peppers. ($10). It wasn't bad, but I still think the antipasto at Trattoria Lucca is a better deal (only $8.50 with more variety)
My wife had an appetizer special which was a warm radicchio salad that was quite good ($9 or $10, can't remember).
Friends had fried calamari (not chewy or rubbery, so thumbs up) and another app special of rolled eggplant stuffed with spinach and ricotta which was also tasty.(each app $9-$10).
And before the apps came out we were given the bread basket and a complimentary plate of carrots marinated in balsamic vinegar and a cold potato salad which I believe was marinated in white vinegar and garlic (it may not sound interesting, but it was tasty and I also remember my father making something like it when I was young, so it must be one of those South Philly concoctions).
I had the Misto di Mare which was a mix of grilled seafood. It came with a grilled piece of salmon, swordfish, and tuna. Each piece of fish was topped with a grilled shrimp and then drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar. I thought it was a bargain for $21 as the pieces of fish were a nice size. However, the menu did not specify what kind of seafood would be on the plate (I guess it varies depending on what's available). If I had known that tuna would be included I would have asked for it to be cooked rare. It came cooked through and was a little dry. If I order it again, I will definitely ask beforehand.
My wife had a Black Fettucine special that was served with shrimp. She enjoyed it and had enough left over to take home.
Friends both ordered veal. The Veal Francese was topped with crabmeat (not traditional, but it looked good and she said she enjoyed it). However, the Veal Piccata entree consisted of 3 or 4 rather small pieces of veal in the lemon sauce. For $17, those veal scallops looked awfully lonely on that plate. I think they should offer a side of sauteed spinach or grilled veggies to go with it.
My wife ordered a cappucino, which we had to send back because it wasn't hot enough. It was promptly replaced. Friends had coffee.
I had the tiramisu, which had a strong coffee taste that I didn't prefer.
Wives had the ricotta cheese cake, which was very good. Friend had creme brulee.
Service was OK. Looked like a lot of family helping out, so it was about average for most of the South Philly BYOBs. Entrees didn't all arrive exactly together, but came within minutes of each other. And some plates were cleared before all were finished.
Total before tip was $145.
I would go back because I'd like to try the pastas, which looked interesting, and the wood fired oven pizza (only available as an appetizer during dinner hours). They also have a lunch menu with panini.
It seems like if you go a few times, you can probably find the things they do well and stick with those.
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