Monday, February 16, 2009

Vespaio Ristorante - Austin,TEXAS

The Senora and I love to celebrate Valentines with our dear friends, the Best Dressed Couple. Last year we dined at North, located in the Domain, I had the oso buco which was just wonderful, but this year’s dinner has to be the best yet.

We arrived at Vespaio around 9pm, and as we expected only to find a packed house. The hostess told us that the wait would be around 45 mins to an hr, which didn’t surprise us based on past experience. We made our way to the far end of the bar and wow, actually got some seats, a group of four ladies were just leaving. We order a bottle of Trocadero and the OSTRICHE AL FORNO CON SPINACI E CREMA AL PERNOD (Texas gulf oysters baked in the shell with spinach, Pernod cream & aged asiago cheese) to hold us over, content with the idea of our wait. The food gods must have smiled down at us. Before we had received our antipasto, out of nowhere the hostess taps me on the shoulder, whispers in my ear so not to attract attention from the other folks waiting, that a table for four had mysteriously opened up.

The second we were seated our oysters arrived and we immediately ordered an additional antipasto of the just made mozzarella served with locally grown tomatoes, sweet basil and e.v.o.o. with grilled focaccia bruschetta, and a second bottle of the Trocadero. The oysters paired with the Trocader, is a perfect match; oysters and bubbly are always good together. The mozzarella was light in flavor, not salty and the tomatoes were sweet and tasted so good.

For our entrees the Senora had the SPECIALITA DELLA CASA GAMBERI E PROSCIUTTO GRIGLIATO (Oak fire grilled prosciutto-wrapped jumbo gulf prawns with rapini & suppli finished with red chili pesto). Mrs. Best Dressed chose the PAN SEARED SHOTTISH KING SALMON (creamy yellow polenta, crispy fried oysters and giardiniera aioli), one of Vespaio’s Valentine specials. Mr. Best Dressed, a little more traditional with his food, had the LASAGNE ALLA BOLOGNESE (Sheets of handmade spinach pasta with beef, veal & pork Bolognese, Bechamel, pecorino romano, pork sausage & house made mozzarella). While I also chose from the Valentine menu and had the RISOTTO DEL GIORNO – RISOTTO OF THE DAY (Brick oven roasted beef ox tail in veal ridurre served atop carnaroli risotto made w/ taleggio cheese, root vegetable puree and white truffle oil).

Our meal was fantastic. Not one of us had a complaint or in any way was disappointed with our food or our server, who by the way was attentive but not hovering, just perfect.

We spent about two hours drinking our wine and savoring our food, hoping that our evening wouldn’t end. And when we finally said our goodbyes and headed down the road, we were already making plans to eat again soon at Vespaio, which in both the Senora’s and my mind has to be one of Austin’s best restaurants.

mangi bene

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