Tuesday, May 22, 2007

La Locanda del Ghiottone

If you check your online resources such as www.citysearch.com you'll notice that La Locanda del Ghiottone has some mixed reviews. One user complains that it's "cramped, noisy and rushed." I would tend to agree with this assessment, but it didn't take away from our meal. The space is certainly small and you'll find yourself at times rubbing elbows (literally) with your neighbors. The noise is substantial with contributions from the casual BYO crowd and the open kitchen. as for being "rushed," the waitstaff should absolutely be described as such, but our meal wasn't - despite a busy night, we didn't feel pressured to stuff ourselves and leave. Upon arrival, we were seated immediately at a table with a view into the kitchen. It's always comforting when a restaurant isn't afraid to show you what goes on behind the scenes. We ordered the mushroom stuffed crepes to start. They were smothered in a delicious alfredo sauce and garnished with italian parsley and basil which added a welcome freshness to such a rich dish. The crepes were properly soft and light. This dish worked nicely as a shared first course. For our entrees we ordered a four cheese ravioli and a braised lamb shank. The ravioli was served in lovely, sweet, red gravy. It was simple but executed perfectly and served as a sizeable portion. When the lamb arrived at the table our waiter referred to me as Fred Flintstone - this piece of meat was legendary in size. We knew immediately that they were living up to their reputation of serving "family style" portions. A braised lamb shank is not so easy to perfect, but La Locanda came awfully close. The slow-cooked shank maintained its moisture and the sauce it was served in (likely thickened and enriched by the marrow) was a savory delight. It was served with risotto alla milanese, a creamy saffron seasoned dish that is commonly paired with veal shank, but worked equally as well with the lamb. We enjoyed the food immensely, had a very jovial waiter, and would definitely return to La Locanda. We recommend a Chianti Classico to match with almost anything on their menu. Our choice was the Castello Banfi Riserva 2003 which had elegant cassis fruit notes and a decent finish.

Tips: make reservations, bring cash, see if you can get a table near the kitchen where the action is

Total Cost = $50 with tip (the wine we brought was an additional $12)

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