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Rome: Lo Sgobbone, Cantina di Ninco Nanco and Pommidoro?? All new additions to the '09 Osterie Guide

thanks very much Nancy and Jen. seems like we should give La Campana a try.

Nov 01, 2009
kirk in NY in Italy

Rome: Lo Sgobbone, Cantina di Ninco Nanco and Pommidoro?? All new additions to the '09 Osterie Guide

Has anybody been to any of these delicious sounding spots? They are new additions to the '09 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia and we won't get a chance to try all of them, but have time for 1 or 2 of them at the beginning of November. Would very much appreciate any 1st hand impressions, reviews or other reactions.

Thanks.

Oct 18, 2009
kirk in NY in Italy

Rome: Lo Sgobbone, Cantina di Ninco Nanco and Pommidoro?? All new additions to the '09 Osterie Guide

Has anybody been to any of these delicious sounding spots? They are new additions to the '09 Slow Food Osterie d'Italia and we won't get a chance to try all of them, but have time for 1 or 2 of them at the beginning of November. Would very much appreciate any 1st hand impressions, reviews or other reactions.

Thanks.

Oct 18, 2009
kirk in NY in Italy

Le Langhe/Moscato Report -- Brief

i do look forward to trying Rabaja; and we would gone to Vignaiolo over Bovio but it didn't work out due to the days on which the various places were closed. another reason we like to plan ahead.

Oct 10, 2009
kirk in NY in Italy

Le Langhe/Moscato Report -- Brief

Jen, 3 of these places are in the Slow Food guide, so they "have" to be less than E35 per person for 3 courses w/out wine. that means that places like Bardon and Boccondivino are true world class bargains; winners in the price/value ratio competition.
Bovio and T della Posta are about the same price, around E50 per person. San Marco just a little more (assuming you skip the fresh truffles). Antine was a little more yet, but given the high quality of the ingredients and that they are "fancier" ingredients, the prices still seemed fair; indeed had the stereo been off and the owner/waitress smiled once or twice, i might even recommend that others try the place for themselves.

As for wine, from what we saw, you could have really pleasant, smart and expressive wines for less than E30 per bottle (sometimes, e.g., Boccondivino, even less). i was looking for older rarer bottles, so they ranged from E90-250, but, for example, the '90 G. Conterno Cascina Francia at Bovio was perfectly stored (not too shocking) and was about E150, which is may not what most people want to spend on wine for lunch, but if one checks on Wine Search you'll see that the lowest prices are around $300 retail (and god knows where those bottles have been in the past 2 decades). ditto the '98 Giacosa Santo Stefano riserva at Bardon, which was (i think) about E110.

I should also mention that the fancy restaurant in Eataly in Torino (it goes by both Guido and Casa Vicina) is fantastic; beautiful minimalist design; awesomely pure simple flavors on the plate; it is priced for its 1 michelin star (and to keep traffic down from casual drop ins from the Eataly experience) -- i think the prix fixe 3 course lunch menu was E48 per person (although it may have been 60); wines are fairly priced, although the pleasure and impressiveness of having a list of 1000+ wines is diminished considerably when it becomes clear that they don't really know what they have: it took me 4 attempts to find a bottle that they in fact had. but given how good the food was, and how pleasant the staff was about the whole thing (and we were in jeans), i wasn't even fussed about the wine list problem.

Oct 10, 2009
kirk in NY in Italy

Le Langhe/Moscato Report -- Brief

I had posted earlier looking for advice re 4 nights in the Alba/Asti area, noting that we were seeking traditional style cooking, albeit in places with warm (don't care whether it is casual or formal) service and a good wine list. Hence, we eliminated places like Piazza Duomo, Ciau del Tornevento, or the version of Guido at Relais San Maurizio.

Here is where we ended up, with brief notes (apologies for not taking dish by dish notes):

Day 1
Lunch - Trattoria della Posta, Monforte
almost all non-Italian tourists, food was very good, but nothing was excellent; not surprisingly, the primi were better than the secondi (brasado was a touch dry and uninteresting in its flavor profile); service correct but not actually warm (certainly not chilly or brusque, but seemed a touch mechanical); great wine list at very fair prices.

Dinner -- del Belbo da Bardon, San Marzano Oliveto/Valle Asinari
Superb in all respects; bright and lively; had the feeling of an upscale neighborhood party all night long; extraordinarily warm and genuinely caring service -- all the more remarkable given that no member of the staff from the owner on down was ever in one place for more than 10 seconds; these folks are working and sweating and yet make even an obvious tourist with very broken Italian feel welcome and cared for. the pasta was top rate, among the best of the whole trip; roasted rabbit superb; wine list is a thing of beauty.

Day 2 --
Lunch -- Bovio, La Morra
beautiful room and location; the view down to the south is magnificent; food was all very good, but short of the standard set by Bardon; service formal and correct and yet animated and caring. secondi were a touch lack-luster. tajarin with porcini were excellent, but not transcendent. Wine list is very very good; better than trattoria della posta; more extensive than Bardon, but not as well priced.
Dinner -- Lalibera , Alba
Head over heals in love with this place; very sleek and modern interior; wonderful, smart, no nonsense but very professional all woman staff. food very traditional and exceptional. we'd go back in a heartbeat. The sort of place that would have a 3 week waiting list in NYC.

Day 3,
Lunch -- Boccondivino in Bra
In the heart of the Slow Flood lair, this was superb; couldn't have been more simple and yet more impressive; great pepper stuffed with tuna, tajarin to die for; secondi also very good. wine list is very well chosen; aimed at the more casual/younger end of the spectrum, but great selection and pricing, and enough slightly older, finer bottles to keep folks like me happy. Close to a perfectly realized restaurant; achieving exactly what they set out to do and being 100% honest about what that is.

Dinner Antine - Barbaresco
Perhaps the only disappointment (and moderately so) of the trip; food was very very good; no faults at all and a few dishes were indeed superb; problem is that it felt like one was eating at a morgue; not a touch of warmth in the room or service (and hideous, tinny Europop on the "stereo" -- would have been appropriate for the coffee bar attached to the local gas station, but not an actual sit down restaurant). Took away a great deal of the pleasure from what was indeed very well prepared food. wine list is distinctly weak for a restaurant of this level.

Day 4,
Lunch -- I Bologna in Rocchetta Tanaro.
Like Bardon, almost a perfect restaurant in the traditional, local mode; fancier than Bardon, but just delightful. Food was exceptional --no choices, just what they had on offer that day; each course was superb, including a magnificent brasado for secondo ; there is no wine list, just a very interesting and good cellar that your host helps you navigate, but when at Bologna, how can you not drink their own wines? I had the '95 Uccellone which was drinking beautifully (and extremely kindly priced).

Dinner -- San Marco, Castelli
A rare Michelin 1 star that is also genuinely traditional; This is a bit more expensive than the others (except Antine), however, worth every penny. The tajarin here (just butter and white truffles - but ignore the truffles) was I think the best (or perhaps tied with a maccheroni with duck at Giusti some years ago, and better than my most recent visit to Giusti (October '08)) pasta I have ever had anywhere. Secondi were exceptional and the service is warm and caring, and not too overly formal/French, as sometimes happens to Michelin starred places. Wine list is good, not exceptional, but prices are very fair.

Oct 09, 2009
kirk in NY in Italy

Piedmont/ Le Langhe, Piedmont experts and lovers, please advise re my choices ...

we're back and had (of course) a great trip. i will post a separate quick brief on where we ended up and which were better than others; none was bad (as Villasam notes, that seems unlikley). And, Villasam, as surely you understand, it isn't (at least in so much if Italy it isn't likely) a question of "going wrong;" for many (me included) planning is a key part of the enjoyment of the trip; also avoids consuming valuable time while on the trip.

Oct 09, 2009
kirk in NY in Italy

Trip Planning: Restaurant Feedback (Orvieto, Montalcino, Castellina, Bologna)

i would recommend L'Asino d'Oro in Orvietto -- its been 2 or 3 years since i was there, but it was one of the very best meals I have ever had in Italy (not quite as good as Giusti and of course different from Le Calandre), and clearly the best we had in Umbria.

In Bologna, Meloncello is very good; Gianni was disappointing.

Sep 01, 2009
kirk in NY in Italy

Foodie looking for the real restaurants in Sicily

i would second the recommendation for La Finanziera; exccellent place with extreme high quality fish and pasta. we spent 9 days or so in February a year ago driving counter-clockwise from Palermo to Taromina; the slow food osterie d'Italia never let us down; not once; get the old one in english or buy a new one in italian when you arrive.

Sep 01, 2009
kirk in NY in Italy

Piedmont/ Le Langhe, Piedmont experts and lovers, please advise re my choices ...

I've done as much research here, on Egullet, elsewhere on the Web and in the infallible (IMHO) Osterie D'italia as I can think to do, and here is where I am coming out for an end of September trip (pre-truffle season). We've spent a lot of time eating through many other regions of Italy over the years, but this will be our first trip to the Langhe.

In general, we prefer traditional style cooking, albeit in places with warm (don't care whether it is casual or formal) service and a good wine list. Price isn't that important, but value is. Hence, I've had to make some tough choices (e.g., no Piazza Duomo or Ciau del Tornevento, or even the version of Guido at our hotel in Santo Stefano Belbo), but I would love to hear from the group about the following, and I've noted in a few places where i feel like i have not been able to get an accurate read on the place from my research. Also, we tend to may make lunch the larger, grander meal, but of course will adjust to suit the establishement.

Day 1
Lunch - Boccondivino in Bra
Dinner -- del Belbo da Bardon, San Marzano Oliveto/Valle Asinari

Day 2 --
Lunch -- Marsupino Briaglie (after the morning visiting Cuneo)
Dinner -- Lalibera , Alba

Day 3,
Lunch Vignaiola, La Morra (or should we choose I Bologna in Rocchetta Tanaro, or Bovio in La Morra? --see day 4)

Dinner Antine - Barbaresco

Day 4,
Lunch -- Il Centro, Alba (here is a one that i have not seen recent reliable posts on; back a few years ago, many posters loved it and other thought is might be riding on its laurels; would love to hear from anybody who has visited it lately.)

Would we better off at the new Bovio ristorante in La Morra (the former operators of the Belvedere)?
Here is a glowing review i found
http://frittinpagella.blogspot.com/20...

DInner -- Tratoria della Posta, Monforte d'Alba

Grazie mille!

Sep 01, 2009
kirk in NY in Italy

Boca -- Need a Nice Restaurant for 14-18 peopl

a week from this Friday, and it really does have to be in Boca given the size of the group and transportation issues.

Boca -- Need a Nice Restaurant for 14-18 peopl

Hi folks. I don't know the Boca area at all, but i do need to find a good restaurant that can handle dinner a week from Friday for 14-18 people (private room or not doesn't matter). It doesn't need to be cheap, but I am not looking to waste cash on bad food or terrible service, if I can avoid it. I'd like to stay in Boca itself --some will be depending on cabs back to their hotel. Ideally, the place should have a good wine program -- at least a few decent interesting bottles in the $50-$100 price range. Given the guests, it also can't be sushi or seafood only and can't be a steakhouse. (Getting harder, isn't it?) My websearchs have led me to think Opus 5 might be an OK choice, but there are some prety negative reviews of it on here, so am hoping to get some feed back on it and some other recommendations. from what i can tell from the internet, some in our group (ages 15-80) may not be up for Bova -- at least not if its dress code would not work for a 15 year old in jeans and a T shirt -- but what about Saporsisimo?

Other ideas? Thanks very much.

Very sad news for Taillevent

it is very sad, but you would do yourself and the Vrinat family and Taillevent's magnificent staff a diservice if you cancel. I've been lucky enough to eat there many times over the last 12 years, and it was a shock to see M. Vrinat this Novemember, b/c he clearly was ill (looking like he;d aged 10 years in the 8 months since we'd seen him last), but his good humor and amazing sense of hospitality were not flagging at all. Soliveres is cooking very well and the dining room staff is beyond impecable. M. V will be missed and is truly one of a kind, but his influence and training will live on --at least through the date of your visit.

Go, enjoy yourself and have a great bottle of wine from his extremely fairly priced wine list in his memory.

Jan 09, 2008
kirk in NY in France

Would Appreciate Lunch Rec's for Friday in Seattle -- high quality, sit down with wine ....

Thanks very much; will look into 94 Stewart. (am a bit warry about Cafe Campagne --but maybe unfairly -- had a really mediocre dinner at the restaurant many years ago (mid '90s) and never was willing to go back.)

turns out we will be a bit further up the hill -- up by the new central library building. what are people's views about Wild Ginger these days? (other than it is expensive for what they do.)

Jan 21, 2007
kirk in NY in Pacific Northwest

Would Appreciate Lunch Rec's for Friday in Seattle -- high quality, sit down with wine ....

NYC 'hound seeks excellent lunch place for this Friday. From the research I've been able to do, most of the places that get the highest praise on the board are not open for lunch (Harvest Vine, Mistral, Union, Chez Shea, etc.) Would love to try Salumi, but need a place that takes reservations. And Matt's seems to be still closed, yes?

Any views on the Pink Door?

It doesn't need to be cheap or expensive --just high quality food with service appropriate for the place. Good wine selection would definitely be a plus, but small well chosen list is always fine, too.

Likely to be near Downtown and Pioneer Square, but will have car as well.

Thanks much.

Jan 21, 2007
kirk in NY in Pacific Northwest

Bruni Craftsteak Review

something obviously rubbed Frank wrong; that and clearly he was looking for a different steak than what CS serves (despite complaining about the multiplicity of choices at CS). I have been 3 times plus a private party and think the steaks (corn fed and grass fed) are just terrific; the sides of course are terrific, but even Frank didn't find fault.

Jul 18, 2006
kirk in NY in Manhattan

Why are rez's at Le Bernardin so easy to come by?

Quality is not the problem. Had dinner there last Friday (first time since April 1987 -- that was not a good experience), and it was excellent. The place does have a slightly robotic/souless feel to it, but that is a risk that comes from the level of precision in the cooking and the service; very hard to keep a place feeling personal and warm when everything is running on quasi-military clockwork. Happens in 2 stars in france all the time i have noticed; it is one thing that actually makes the 3 star experience in Europe so special; they manange the charm and warmth and personality while hitting the technical food and service bulls'-eyes.

Jul 18, 2006
kirk in NY in Manhattan