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monterey report,... la giostra

withalonge | Nov 21, 200502:50 PM

first of all, thanks to Lance for posting about this place, we were glad we tried it.

we just showed up, without a reservation... there was clearly a problem with the wait, the place was packed... but we decided to stay. which paid off, two groups before us tired of waiting and left, which resulted a only a 15 min wait for us. not too bad. and once we were seated, service was slow, but friendly. the chef came to each table, apologized for the wait and expressed that they have been just really busy with all the p.r. they've been getting lately, but that he hoped we enjoyed our food.

we started with a cup of minnestrone. it was delicately flavored, but comforting and delicious. a very lovely starter.

and it would be remiss of me to forget to mention the very excellent bread and olive oil on the table. the bread was fresh, tangy and chewy. I don't know which bakery they use, but it was very nice. and the olive oil is fresh, fruity and light.

salad.. dh had mixed greens w/ pesto dressing. good, salad, but not spectacular. I give extra points for the dressing tasting very fresh and strongly of basil. it begged for a few tomatoes, but was plainly dressed. I had what was listed as greens, yellow beets, carrots & celery root w/ ginger and wild-berry dressing. it was just o.k. there were only a few little slivers of all veggies on the salad, which was fine... with a really light, but tangy dressing. it was good until I bit in to what I thought was celery root and soon realized was a large piece of raw ginger. now, I like ginger... a lot. but that was a bit much. it was a salad that started out as a good idea, but just didn't quite come together.

lucky for us, the entrees that followed more than made up for the disappointing salad. I had egg noodles, baked with cream, peas and proscuito.. it was just heavenly... the noodles were just perfectly cooked, the sauce rich, but balanced. the portion not so large as to drown you out. the sauce light, not sticky or too heavy. it was just lovely.

my dh, had the special... spinach and ricotta ravioli w/ mushroom cream sauce. it was just delicious. I only had a bite or two of his dinner, but it was very good. I think he'd have picked up the plate and licked off the sauce if we hadn't been in public.

our pasta dishes were so rich we couldn't think of ordering dessert, which was disappointing after Lance's mention of the tiramisu and zabaglione... but that is what next time will bring.

aside from the salad, their food was very good. I'd definitely come try some more... especially after they adjust to the increase in business.

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