i'd just like to give a big mille grazie to all the people who contributed to my post from last week about what to order for the suburbanites (including one picky eater). we sat in the back room, which was nice but a little too small (quieter tho). we had a reservation for 5, so i guess it was no big deal. we started off w/ 4 apps (after my parents saying they were very confused twice to the waiter, lol) - the autumn squash and casciotta, the beets and ginger, the oxtail insalate and eggplant parmigiano. i really liked that oxtail salad, ive never had it that way, they put a nice twist on something i've only had in a hot stew, made by my grandmother of course. the meat was very tender. the squash was really yummy too. i only remember there being capers in it, i forget the other ingredients. we didnt get the house cured meats (no one really seemd to be into them, surprisingly), but i'd like to try them sometime. my mother really enjoyed the beets, i tasted them just to see how they tasted w/ the ginger, nice pairing (i like the punch the ginger gives). i'm not really a beet person tho. the eggplant i didnt taste, only the cheese and sauce it's made with. the cheese was sooo good (is this mozzarella? it was pretty fluffy and creamy)...and the sauce too, both excellent.
we ordered 2 primis to split - one ricotta gnocchi w/ the sausage and fennel and one bucatini alla amatriciana. my picky cousin also ordered this as his main dish, but only one came out when we received the primis. we told the waiter this when we ordered, just to clarify we were getting 2 orders, so we just added an order on after we got the pastas. i thought they were just bringing my cousin's order out w/ the secondis, so we would all be up to speed. but it was no big deal. i think these 2 dishes were the highlights of the meal imo. the gnocchis were the lightest ive ever encountered. pretty small portion tho, but i know gnocchis are very filling, so i think that was a good amount. they were the favorite for parents, and i'm not really into sausage, nor do i particularly like fennel and i thought they were just superb. the fennel was so sublime, it was almost like an afterthought...any opinions on this? the sauce too was very nice. the bucatini was very good as well. i had never had anything like guanciale, and the waiter told me it's highly sought after in italy. all i know is that my cousin devoured it. it was really no big deal that he was eating something w/ pig cheeks. i'm glad he ate that tho. btw, it was just a tad too al dente for my tastes, but it still was on. we had the braised escarole and potatoes also for the vegetables. the escarole was good, but i really liked those potatoes. the others werent crazy about them (too salty) but i like a lot of salt on nice crunchy fried herbed potato goodness. to drink w/ the meal we had gotten some red wine called il viola from the basiliacata region i think has anyone had this? flavored w/ blackberries, cherry, not too dry, etc. they have a sommelier there, but he did not come over to our table once. we just told the waiter what kind of wine we wanted, and gave a price. is that common, cuz i have no clue when it comes to ordering wine. we liked it, but are not really wine people, so it was good for us.
for the secondis, i had the tuna belly and truffles w/ chickpeas and leeks on top. now i had never had either the tuna belly or truffles before, but i figured i'd like it so i got it. no regrets there. yes it was pretty rich, but i ate maybe just a little more than half of it and took the rest home. also had were the saltimbocca and the braciola alla cacciatora. both were good, but not really my kinds of dishes. the pastas were definitely the stars.
this is the last paragraph, dessert. of course we had to have it, it was for my bday after all! (sorry about the length of this post, but i feel it's necessary to post all aspects). i had the cardamom panna cotta, because of the recs on this board. i wouldve skipped right over it otherwise. it's like having this great little secret - thank you! they put a candle in it too, but they dont sing there, ur guests have to. i thought that was funny. my cousin and mom had the spiced dates w/ the mascarpone, de-licious. it is a perfect fall dessert. my dad had the tartufo, and that was good as well, but mine and the dates were the best. when the waiter came over and gave the check, the hostess told us our desserts were comped, cuz they thought too much time had elapsed between our primis and secondis (or our apps and primis), which i thought was very nice even though we were surprised cuz it didnt seem like that much time had gone by. we were just enjoying everything and would expect to wait a little bit since everything's made to order. but of course no one was complaining. it was a very nice eating experience i must say, from beginning to end, and i'd definitely go back again. here's to the she-wolf!