Four of us finally got around to checking out Dante, and I have to say - from appetizers to all entrees, we were impressed. The other couple had eaten at Blu more often than we did when the chef was there; boy were we missing out, but we'll make up for that now! Appetizers are in small tasting portions and you're encouraged to share a variety of dishes. We started off with a bang, instantly loving every dish. First was the escargot -each topped with a light creamy truffled whipped potato spuma - delicious. Two pasta apps - tender perfectly light gnocchi covered in a thin layer of melted cheese with snap peas and favas (the amuse was also some favas with shavings of pecorino I think), the other - spaghetti "a la guitarra" - a pile of thick strands of al-dente pasta tossed with lemon, sweet crabmeat, and chunks of porchetta. We ordered two of the final appetizers so we could have enough, and it was another favorite - the mini lobster "clambake" a crisp corn dog (the dog being tasty andouille sausage), with roasted lobster and clams in a flavorful brick-red broth with fennel and hints of saffron. We also HAD to order a side of the fries with green garlic butter(which comes with the steak frites normally),and they graciously accomodated that.
Already content and hoping the entrees lived up to the first course, next up was a tasty surprise -a plate of delicious crispy fried anchovies with a dipping sauce which the chef referred to as "fries with eyes" - these were addictive, I think I ate most of them before the others had a chance. I never order a vegetarian entree, but this sounded so good, I had to get it - two crispy phyllo rolls wrapped around a mixture of "ten vegetables" on top of a pool of mascarpone sauce, with delicious crispy, bright green snap peas and fiddleheads. I loved it. The guys were happy with their coffee-encrusted thick veal T-bone, my husband commented more than once on the side - warm sauteed yellow and red cherry tomatoes with vinegar peppers, covered by a layer of melted taleggio. It sounds simple, but once again the quality of ingredients made even this simple accompanient a standout. One of the things that stood out to me were the quality and flavor of all the produce and seasonal ingredients, for the first time even my husband ate all his vegetables! I didn't try a friend's basil-roasted guinea hen, but she also raved about her dish. No room for dessert. Really an excellent meal all around. Tho the bar service was poor - it took a while to get the bartender's attention, I don't think he ever cracked a smile, and when the couple arrived a little after us and decided to have a drink before dinner, it took so long, we decided to be seated and order it at the table. The food, however, was fantastic. We'll definitely be back - Dante was a winner for us.