Tasty Birthday To Me

On the way home, we talked about dinner. Everyone enjoyed what they had. Just as important, Helaine noted it was nice without being stuffy or formal.

dinner at assagioWith my parents in town, my birthday in progress and Steffie tied up with her internship&#185, we went out for dinner last night. After last week’s “worst ever” debacle, we needed to turn things around from a culinary standpoint.

Helaine had lunch at a nice little restaurant in Branford a few months ago. She liked it, was responsible for last night’s plans, and decided we’d go back. Good call Helaine. We headed to Assaggio.

Assaggio is a small Italian restaurant on Montowese Street. Luckily the weather was good. I’m not sure where the people sitting outside would go if the rains came. We were immediately seated in a glass enclosed alcove at the end of the dining room. If I remember correctly, this building once held a business that sold greenhouses and glassed in patios. Our alcove was once a sales tool.

The menu is really long. Too long? It’s tough to choose. Even worse, once Kelly came out to tell us the specials (she called them additions and gave us five or six with voluminous detail without referring to notes) we had more to ponder.

Even before the meal, I made my standard snap food judgment based solely on the bread. Restaurants: you are judged by the bread! It came hot with a crispy crust and soft center. The butter had to be stored in liquid nitrogen, because it came out frozen solid. But the bread…. Good lord, I could have eaten just that and had a happy birthday.

My dad ordered lobster filled ravioli with lump crab meat pink vodka cream sauce. My mom and Helaine had Gulf shrimp and diver scallops pan seared over DeCecco spaghetti with fresh oregano plum tomato sauce. I’m a sucker for anything with sun dried tomatoes. I had the Gulf shrimp, sun dried tomatoes, shitake mushrooms and pine nuts over angel hair pasta with a touch of tomato.

The entrees came in deep bowls with a conical shape. In other words, the bowl’s walls were higher on one side than the other. Nice. This is a better idea than a flat plate.

My entree was wonderful. The shrimp were huge and tasty. Everything else was properly proportioned for a really great meal. Angel hair pasta is the underlying piece of this puzzle, but I think a thicker pasta would work better. Small point. I’d gladly order it again as served last night.

I told Helaine no public singing of Happy Birthday. In case you’re wondering if I have any pull–no. It came with a piece of seven layer chocolate cake.

On the way home, we talked about dinner. Everyone enjoyed what they had. Just as important, Helaine noted it was nice without being stuffy or formal. The waitstaff was attentive without hovering. They all looked like they were from the ‘young and attractive’ division of central casting.

We’re already talking about going back.

&#185 – She has a great internship with very cool stories. Either she’s got to get a blog or give me permission to write about it. Don’t hold your breath.

One thought on “Tasty Birthday To Me”

  1. Wow. Shrimp, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms and pine nuts in a simple tomato sauce would do it for me as well. Interestingly, one my favorite chefs, Gray Kunz, late of Cafe Gray and previously Lespinasse, always said that one should first love the room, and the first food impression is both the bread and the butter. To the point that he specified an exact temperature to serve the butter, as one would a good wine. It’s become one of my constant observations every time I get to dine at a fine restaurant.

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