Friday, March 23, 2012

"Valentine's" Dinner at Terroni

I believe I mentioned that we had delayed our Valentine's dinner for a variety of reasons. I may have also mentioned that we finally got around to it ... on St Patrick's Day no less. We like to mix our holidays, and avoid green alcohol. So, we finally got out to Terroni on Adelaide.

Bunny discovered Terroni years ago, back when he was at the design firm. He learned about a lot of good eats that way. He's been talking about this restaurant for almost the entirety of our relationship, and about a year and a bit ago he took me there the first time. Suffice it to say, it was amazing. Enough so that I was excited to go back for Valentine's.

As we had only decided on Friday that we were going out Saturday we didn't make reservations. Based on how busy it had been last time, when we had waited in a crowded bar for over an hour even with reservations, Bunny was a little worried that we might have another long wait. Luckily, we had no reason to worry. We had come early, around 6:30, and within five minutes they sat us at a lovely little table downstairs.

First off, our server helped us pick out a beautiful white wine. Which is a really big deal. We're both red wine lovers, and we know what we like: full-bodied, dry, slightly heavy on the tannins. Why didn't we go for one of those, you might wonder? Well, unfortunately red wines give me migraines and I haven't been able to have more than half a glass of the stuff in about three years. We ended up with a lovely, crisp white with very minimal acidity. You'd better believe that we polished that bottle off.

We started out by sharing the Tagliere Mezzo e Mezzo, which was the same thing we started with last time. The prosciutto was excellent, and Bunny said both the other meats (salami and something else) were nice. There were two cheese (I can't remember what they were called), both cow's milk. One was lovely, with a texture similar to cheddar and a fairly mild flavour. The other was similar to a parmesan: hard and salty. Unfortunately neither Bunny nor I were big fans. The way they serve the app, on a beautiful wooden cutting board and plated with some accent foods (walnuts, honey, roasted pear) was delightful. One of the best parts was the ability to sort of mix and match things: a forkful of salty cheese and honey, or meat with some pear. It's just a perfect start to the meal.

For the main, I ordered the Ravioli di Zio Paperone: homemade ravioli stuffed with duck confit, fig, roasted butternut squash, sauted with oyster, button mushroom and parmigiano. I'd been wavering back and forth between this and one of the pizzas, and I'm definitely glad I decided to go this route.

The raviolis were made from green pasta which is by far my favourite. The filling? ZOMG so good. The way the components were mixed together they formed a great, cohesive flavour that built on itself. The richness of the duck, the sweetness of the fig and the creaminess of the squash all complemented each other perfectly. I almost didn't order this because I was worried I wouldn't like the fig component, but it worked very well. I appreciated that they didn't try to put any sauces on the ravioli; the olive oil and mushrooms were all that was necessary.

The portion size was perfect. Because my appetite is small, I was worried at first that I might not get through it all, but it was so good that with a bit of help from Bunny the whole of the dish disappeared. I loved this.

Bunny had the Spaghetti in Canna Mare: fresh clams and mussels, calamari, scallops and tiger shrimp, light tomato sauce. I didn't try his, but from Bunny's appraisal my dish was better.

For dessert, Bunny kept things simple with just an espresso and lemon biscotti. I have never heard someone rave about a biscotti the way he did about his. It wasn't large, maybe half the size of the biscotti you might get at a coffee shop but I got the impresson that every bite was delicious.

I came in knowing exactly what I'd be having for dessert: the tiramisu. I've dreamed of this tiramisu since the last time I was there, and luckily it did not disappoint. The ladyfingers had just the right texture, soft but not soggy and with some cakey-ness. The marscapone had just the right hint of sweet without being out-and-out sweet. This dessert actually makes me a touch sad, as everytime I eat it I can't help but think I'm turning into my mother. Entirely worth it.

It's also worth noting that the service was beyond excellent. The man who took care of us was friendly without being obtrusive, and had perfect timing in stopping by to check up on us. The pacing was perfect, with no rushed moments and no long lulls of wondering what was happening. Every time something was cleared from our table we had at least a couple of minutes before more food came. I very much appreciated how knowledgable he was about the wines and his ability to recommend something to my taste while pointing out where the wine I chose might diverge from my stated tastes.

All in all? A great dinner. We've been before and we will be back again. Terroni is one of those really great date night/slightly fancier restaurants we keep in our back pockets.

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