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Review: Baldoria's

Mad Russian | Jun 12, 200201:07 PM

Well, chowhounds, it's been a little while, but I hope that this post will make the absence more worthwhile.

Had dinner at Baldoria's last night, for the first time. Baldoria's is a brain child of the same folks who gave us Bella, and they also recently opened a place in North Beach. The place is on the corner of Larkin and Green, and parking is a challenge.

We started the meal with an order of bruschetta. I have never tasted this simple dish prepared in quite this fashion -- the bread was soft and soaking in juice of the tomato. You could cut it with a fork and it wouldn't crumble. The bruschetta came with a generous helping of superb mozzarella di buffala. Rating: excellent and unusual. We had two servings.

For pasta, I had risotto con fungi i salsicci from the specials list. It was redolent with both fresh and dry porcini, and with just the right amount of spicy sausage. Consistency was more liquid than most versions, but not a soupy as they would make in Veneto. The rice was carnaroli, not arborio, as it should be. Rating: transcendent.

Others at the table had gnocchi in marinara and several versions of fresh macaroni pasta. The gnocchi were light and melted in my mouth, and the sauce was a perfect complement. The macaroni was perfect as well, soft, yet al dente, with an awesome mouthfeel.

For the main course, I had tenderloin of wild boar with contorni of roast potato, zucchini, roast red pepper, and broccoli. The meat came in small pieces in a great deal of slightly sweet and savory brown sauce with small cherries and pine nuts. It was a bit dry, which I expected gived the boar's lifestyle, but the sauce was superb, as were the contorni. Rating: very good.

My girlfriend had a plate of lobster and langustini (which they called shrimp for some reason). I did not try it, but she complained that the lobster was a little dry. Another guest had osso bucco over a bed of fettucine, whcih was fantastic if not quite authentic. One more dish sampled was pasta with clams -- not very special.

Dessert was tiramisu and a strange flat cheesecake that was about half crust. The cheesecake was good but not excellent, but the tiramisu was amazing. I am not a lover of the dish, but this was moist, alcoholic, topped with raw cocoa, and lacking the despised ladyfingers. It was a feat to have the slices keep their shape with all the moisture. Rating: excellent

We sampled several wines throughout dinner, including a good barolo and a fine amaroni, but the wine I had with the antipasto was particularly memorable. It was Rosso di Spicca, Orvietano from Tenuta Le Velette, 2000. Strong notes of blackcurrant gave it a fantastic character.

Overall rating: excellent, but stay away from the seafood. Chow!

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