First of all, it’s great to be back. We have been on hiatus since welcoming our first child into the world, but we also have plenty of content to share with our readers that we obviously have not had time to get to. Until now.
So let’s flash back to last month’s Restaurant Week. Rachel, I, and a couple of our friends were looking for a restaurant participating for lunch. We were in search of a place that we had not tried before, offered a good value compared to ordering a la carte, and that was kid-friendly for our friend’s 17 month old.
Rachel and I had been meaning to check out La Forchetta (which has recently been renamed to Al Dente) since news broke out that Roberto Donna would be helming the kitchen. It’s amazing that our visit to the short-lived Galileo III was not even over a year ago, yet just ten months later, Chef Donna has already found a new residence.
As for Al Dente’s lunch menu, it might have been one of the very best deals for Restaurant Week given the $20 price tag for three courses. For the first course, diners had a choice between paninis, soup, salad, pizza, as well as appetizers of the day. Considering that some of the pizzas top out at $13.95, it’s an incredible value. And if you think that’s impressive, Rachel’s grilled sea scallops, one of the special appetizers, was $16.95.
Value aside, the trio of scallops was excellently cooked. As for my first course, I ordered the burrata with slow-roasted vine ripe tomato. Soft, creamy, and swimming in a pool of olive oil, the burrata was a terrific starter.
For our main course, diners had a choice between a selection of house made pastas, main dishes, and entrees of the day. Rachel ordered the basil pesto gnocchi, which was blended with fava and string beans. The potato dumplings were soft, delicate, and practically melted in your mouth. The pesto sauce was just as good as it was rich with flavor and really complemented the pasta.
I went with one of the day’s specials – sautéed rockfish with pizzaiola sauce. I’m not one to typically order fish as my entrée, but Chef Donna hit this one out of the park. Not only was the fish perfectly cooked, but the pizzaiola sauce was simply fantastic. I seriously wanted a jar of this stuff to take home with me. Oh, and on top of that, this dish would have cost $26.95 a la carte. Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either.
For dessert, we had a choice between tiramisu and biscotti, so Rachel went with the former while I ordered the latter. Even Al Dente’s dessert presentations were top notch as my biscotti was accompanied with a glass of moscato while Rachel’s tiramisu was artfully arranged.
It’s not often that Rachel and I are blown away not only by the food but also the value of a Restaurant Week participant, but Al Dente wildly exceeded our expectations. Not only do you get to take pleasure in Roberta Donna’s masterful cooking, but the prices, regardless if it’s Restaurant Week or not, are very reasonable. Oh, and ample parking is always a nice plus. Welcome back, Chef Donna.