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Restaurants & Bars

Ristorante Cinqueterre > Nice Surprise

Maxine | Dec 17, 200408:27 PM

We checked out the casual Ristorante Cinqueterre at 641 Vallejo Street just west of Columbus. I was put off by the name of the place suspecting it was going to be a hype of a place capitalizing on the current travel trend to Cinque Terre in Italy.

But I was totally wrong. To begin, the window front had an article about the resto, including information about the chef. I don’t recall his name, (?Fernandez?), but according to the article, he has worked at Bacco, Ideale, Splendido and Prego.

We ordered in four courses:

First we shared a delicious simple salad of artichokes, tomatoes and a sprite salad dressing with a bit of anchovy. This was all nicely foiled with large slivers of some type of imported parmesan cheese, no doubt. The salad tasted fresh.

We then shared their Black and White pasta. The widow article mentioned that this was a specialty. The menu says it comes with shrimp and scallops but our server asked if we would like a seafood combination as an alternative – at no extra cost. We opted for the combination and found clams and mussels as well as the shrimp and scallops. The server said something about calamari, but I don’t think we actually found any. The red sauce was nicely spicy – I found a small dried Thai chili in my pasta – which answered why I noted a hint of heat.

Then came the New York steak with gorgonzola cheese sauce, which we shared. The steak was HUGE, and came with mashed potatoes and our choice of spinach or broccoli. We opted for the spinach and I appreciated the flavorful taste of the spinach without it having been doused in an excess of olive oil. The two of us ate from the steak and even then we brought almost half of it home. It was thick and tender, flavorous, and I was thrilled with the sauce. It was a dark brown sauce and was not overpowered by the gorgonzola.

For dessert we had something like puff pastry – a thin layer, with house made vanilla gelato and caramel sauce. “Mille—something” -- it refers to the thousand pastry layers. It came equipped with ample gelato. I hate desserts where you don’t get enough ice cream, whipped cream ...

We had three glasses of different types of red wine, and one cappuccino. Our bill was $80 before tip.

All of the servings were quite generous. The kitchen kindly divided the salad and pasta without our requesting this. We don’t know if the portions are normally this generous – I can’t imagine they would have piled on the portion because it was being shared??

We enjoyed everything about our meal and look forward to returning.

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