Saturday, February 23, 2008

I Now Know Beans

Thursday evening – potentially bad weather approaching, my hubby might or might not bring home a friend from work (and we might or might not be eating dinner together). We have dealt with chili and its aftermath for days. The friend did not make it. I did not pick up anything to prepare. The frozen stuff was completely out of the question. So, we went out. We pointed the car in the direction of downtown, but still mulled over options – Millie’s, Lulu’s, Café Rustica, Tarrant’s – all good choices. But do you ever run down a list and none of them ignites a spark of “Yes, that’s the place for tonight!”? Nothing clicked. As we approached Broad St. Enoteca Sogno popped into my head. Perfect for this evening. We bee-lined to mid-town.

We had dined at this unassuming Italian restaurant a while ago. Their steaks, especially the herb-roasted T-bones are heaven. Alas, rib-eyes were the steak of the evening. We don’t favor this particular cut and decided to branch out to other menu options. On this night about 75% of the tables were occupied, but even so, the place maintained a calm and quiet demeanor. Perfect for enjoying wine and conversation. A casual, relaxed wait staff enhanced the tranquility.

We poured over the simple menu. A few appetizer choices, a couple of salads, pasta and gnocchi with multiple sauce options, chicken and veal dishes, a brief list of specials. We decided to share the Crostini with White Beans and Arugula. This had been a heavily negotiated choice. I wanted something to share. My husband wanted to order soup or Calamari. Neither of those options appealed to me. After a little more wrangling, we compromised. And a happy mouth time was enjoyed by all. We received a plate with a pile of very large white beans surrounded by toasted baguette-style sliced bread. Sounds plain and simple, huh? But the beans were tossed with a few arugula leaves, red onion slivers, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a very, very scant amount of vinegar. All of the beans were done – no crunchies (I detest going to a restaurant and getting crunchy beans). And quite delicious. We kept raving about the beans. They had picked up the flavors of the other ingredients. Such bean perfection is rare to encounter. We raved about those beans the entire evening. And congratulated ourselves on remembering this place as a dining option.

For entrées I chose the Veal Piccata and my spouse ordered Penne with Sausage and Rapini. I had three nice-sized pieces of slightly seared veal with a sauce that hinted of lemon, but did not overpower the dish. The dish also came with a side of spaghetti with just enough red sauce for flavoring, but did not compete with my main dish. Very delicious. My husband also enjoyed his dish. He was particularly please with the quality of the pasta.

We toasted the entire evening with a bottle of 2001 D’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino. A wine that kept its flavor despite the vinegar in the beans and the lemon in the Picatta sauce. What a wonderful evening.

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1 comment:

RVA Foodie said...

You are so right about the white beans in that crostini dish. I've gotten that at Edo's a few times, and from a vegetarian perspective, each plump cannellini is like a mini mock-sausage. They provide some "meat" to the dish and balance it out perfectly.