I was recently invited to attend a press dinner at Restaurant Aglio, and as my current eating partner, I tagged DLS to join me.
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We were greeted with our choice of aperitifs: the Sylvia on the left for me (Belvedere, Ginger Skyy, St. Germain, mint, cucumber, ginger, ginger ale and agave) and the Basilico Fizz on the right for him (garlic infused vodka, dry vermouth, basil, olive juice), each $13. Reading those descriptions, longtime readers will already know I liked my appropriately chosen Sylvia, as it contains ingredients that I really enjoy in cocktails – refreshing, light, and delicious. Unfortunately, I was too focused on my own choice to warn DLS that the menu described his drink as very salty – olive juice being the main non-alcoholic component. As a result, he took one sip – from a salt-rim, no less – gasped and handed me the drink. I did no less and made a face before relinquishing it. He liked my drink much more, but that was to be expected. (There was also a discussion over whether this drink could rightly be called a ‘fizz’ with my conclusion being no. No, it could not.)
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For my starter, I chose the carpaccio di manzo ($21) – beef carpaccio with truffle sauce (thinly sliced US Kobe beef topped with truffles and truffle vinaigrette). The truffles surprisingly didn’t overwhelm, which is an issue I have with black truffles oftentimes, and the meat was meltingly tender. I enjoyed this as my first course – despite it being red meat, it was light enough that I didn’t feel full or weighed down as we proceeded. The arugula also added a nice peppery bite to counter the richness of everything – excellent dish.
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This photograph was taken by DLS.
DLS went with the foie gras e patata dolce ($22) (foie gras with sauteed sweet potato, drizzled with Marsala wine sauce). DLS dutifully handed over a bite – a slice of sweet potato along with foie gras. I thought it a weird combination, and noted as DLS ate each separately, but I put both in my mouth simultaneously, and immediately was impressed. Something about the sweet creaminess of the potato with the fatty creaminess of the foie gras was just incredible: I blurted out “oh my god, you have to try them together, the sweet potato and foie gras!” When DLS obliged, he was as surprised as I was at what a lovely combination this made. I would never have thought to put the two together – but I was glad that I’d thought to eat them at the same time, because that is one combination I won’t easily forget. Delicious.
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When I saw spaghetti alla bottarga ($22) on the menu (anchovy, garlic, chili pepper, topped with bottarga powder and slices), I couldn’t say no, despite there being many items on the menu that sounded delicious. Bottarga – cured fish roe, for those unfamiliar – has appeared in many pasta dishes for me over the years and is something of an obsession of mine. It imparts this insanely delicate ocean taste – not unlike that of regular roe, but less aggressively intrusive – and really makes a dish when used appropriately. Unfortunately, I felt this dish was a complete waste of bottarga, as I couldn’t taste it, and the overall dish was just overwhelmingly salty from the anchovies – unpleasantly so. Or at least I thought so; DLS didn’t think anything was wrong with the dish, and traded with me without complaint when I said I couldn’t eat my pasta anymore.
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For my side, I chose fritto di cavolfiore ($6), or cheese fried cauliflower. Very tasty – small nuggets of cauliflower that had a cheese crust before being fried. Yum!
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DLS also took this photo.
DLS’s choice, the milanese di maiale ($27) (Kurobuta pork milanese; Kurobuta pork loin breaded with panko bread crumbs and parmesan powder), was a much bigger success with me. Perfectly cooked – still juicy and tender – with a lovely exterior of cheesy goodness (though I did not see or feel any panko crumbs), I enjoyed this very much. Sometimes pork can be very hard to cook properly, so I especially appreciated that it was not overcooked. (Funny note: when he handed the plate to me, I ate a bit of it before realizing I’d inadvertently cut it into the shape of a heart. I handed the plate back because I was full, and he did this… MEANIE!)
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For his side, DLS chose the funghi misti in padella ($6) (sauteed mixed mushroom with balsamic). A simple dish but executed well – the mushrooms were cooked perfectly and took on all the flavors of a very good balsamic vinegar.
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As you can see, I took over photographing his dishes as he obviously can’t do it himself, haha. His dessert – torta di arancia ($9) – cake with blood oranges, extra virgin olive oil, vanilla gelato and candied pine nuts – was appreciated and tasty enough, though I ignored his in favor of mine. I think he liked it.
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My own choice, hazelnut tiramisu ($9) (Savoiardi biscuits soaked in Frangelico cafe, layered with chocolate mascarpone, topped with roasted hazelnuts), came after a lot of agitated thought. No fewer than three choices of tiramisu graced the menu, and I absolutely adore tiramisu – it’s my second favorite dessert in the world. However, I’m also a stickler for classic tiramisu and tend to really dislike when there are liberties taken with my darling. What drove me to try the hazelnut instead of the classic, though, was a recent revelation that I really enjoy nuts (now that I’m fully certain I’m not allergic to any of them anymore). Please don’t talk to me about pineapple tiramisu though – it sounds lovely, but something about it just makes me squirm. Much like Ryan Gosling… anyway, back to dessert! Super airy, light, but with a richly chocolate flavor… and then the crunch of the dry roasted hazelnuts… wow. The textures really just blew me away, I loved that I took a chance on a non-classic tiramisu and that chance paid off. In spades. Whatever that means. I mean, whoa, I practically licked my bowl clean, even after being so full from everything else we’d eaten. I’m not even sure I gave DLS a bite, maybe just one and then refused to share any more. He’s nice like that. And I’m a selfish pig like that. But my oh my… delicious.
Yvo says: While I felt my pasta dish was a huge miss, the rest of the food was actually really good. The prices might be a bit high for the area, but all of our portions were rather generous, and our service was great (well, in all fairness, we were there for a press event). The place itself was rather romantic in atmosphere. I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest this as a date location!
Please note that I enjoyed this meal courtesy of Ristorante Aglio’s PR. I was under no obligation to post my opinion, positive or negative, and received no monetary compensation to do so. I included prices on the post for informational purposes, as most people tend to ask when I write about things like this. Thank you again to Ristorante Aglio’s hospitality!