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ed | Feb 9, 200405:33 PM

i had the unexpected pleasure of a notably good trattoria experience here as a guest of a friend back in '97. so when i found myself hungry in the general vicinity recently i decided to hunt it down again to revive that fond but fading memory. it was nighttime, and i don't frequent the area much anymore, so i was pleased to find it right where i recalled, near the menlo park caltrain station. but the building was totally different, shifting my anticipation into worry.
the concern was unwarranted. apparently, the old building was torn down, and gambardellas moved up to burlingame for a year or so while the new building went up. they are now back home, much to the delight of the local fans and myself.
service was good. this whole story was related to me by the host, while i looked over the menu. both gave me much confidence that the restaurant and i were right where we should've been.
i had the shrimp with prosciutto and artichoke hearts, the memory of which still makes my toes wiggle with delight. the sauce was lightly-creamy, providing a smooth medium through which all the flavors could find expression and integration. sweet, savory, salty and tangy, all were present in balanced but unabashed glory. i liked something about the pasta and bread, too, but my memory was diffused by the effects of the bottle of cheap vino rosso pugliese i took a chance on. something salice it was, anno domini 2000, and the problem with it was that it was so friggin tasty. i'm a lightweight, you see, so the second glass had me right proper jolly. $18 of the wine list!
no wonder hannibal lingered there.

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