Monday, October 26, 2009

Unpretentious La Bruschetta

I've long-heard of the restaurant, La Bruschetta, and on a rainy, pissy Friday in October, I finally went.  Located in St. Clair West, the exterior is marked by a light-adorned blue (and ugly) "RESTAURANT L.L.B.O." sign.  Inside, its long narrow room is cozy, modest and welcoming.

We are greeted by Silvia, the daughter Benito, who with his wife started the restaurant almost 30 years ago.  She is kind with an easy way about her; she makes us feel at home.  Silvia still does some of the cooking, but spends most of her time helping out during service.

First, the complimentary bruschetta arrives.  If you're going to have a restaurant named after a traditional Italian appetizer, you better not disappoint.  And it doesn't.  As a starter my friend orders the carpaccio (which I happily share).  The meat is tender and beautifully thinly sliced.  My one criticism is there was so much parmesan the meat took a back seat.

Then came our mains: pappardelle tartufate and gnocchi gratinati.  The pappardelle was beautifully fresh, and the mushrooms chopped to almost a ragu.  It was hearty and had incredible depth of flavour (surely accented by the brandy in the sauce!).  The gnocchi was light and the dish bountiful.  The sauce was a little too tomatoey for my liking, but had a nice creaminess (and my friend had no trouble polishing it off!).

The servers were friendly, each with a megawatt smile you couldn't help but be charmed by.  As our dinner came to a close, we noticed the room had filled.  It was abuzz with lively conversation and laughter; what a lovely place to be on a dreary Friday evening.

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