Monday, September 02, 2013

An Evening of Specials at Tastebuds American Bistro

Yes, Tastebuds American Bistro is still my favorite dining spot in RVA. Hubby and I look forward to the weekly email listing the specials for the weekend. We then email each other to indicate we must eat there this weekend. We try to make reservations on Open Table and sometimes will leave a message. These guys ALWAYS read the messages. On this occasion I just stated "Yeah veal." We were set to dine on a Saturday. About an hour before dinner, we receive a call from Valentina making sure I still wanted veal. They had an early run of veal orders and wanted to make sure they reserved an order for me.  Talk about customer service.

And Andrew and Valentina do not reserve their customer service just for me and hubby. Take the wine we enjoyed on this trip - MacRostie Pinot Noir. Tastebuds American Bistro regularly hosts a table of four who always orders a pinot noir. Andrew ensures that pinot noir is on his list, but not just any run-of-the-mill stuff. He wants the pricing to be reasonable, while introducing the regulars to an expanded palate of the grape nectar. Hubby and I reap the benefits. It's all good. And despite my usual aversion to California pinots, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It had enough punch for me and a lingering cherry essence. I can be such a sucker for cherriness in a wine.

MacRostie Pinot Noir

For dinner we started with a Shrimp Saganaki with fresh tomato, feta, and a touch of ouzo. What a great dish. Tons of flavor. The licoriceness of the ouzo really made this dish special. We had to request extra rolls to sop up all of the feta and tomato sauce.

Shrimp Saganaki

And, indeed, I had veal scallopini with fresh fig sauce and a green peppercorn-lemon risotto cake. Tastebuds has delicious veal and I love if when the fresh figs arrive and they utilize them in different ways. The fig sauce was delightful and different. The risotto cake featured a refreshing lemon accent. Lovely fruits of the summer.

Veal Scallopini with Fresh Fig Sauce

Hubby selected seared scallops with pancetta cracklings and housemade wide fettucine. He greatly enjoyed his meal. The generous portion of pancetta crackling was particularly appreciated.

Seared Scallops with Pancetta Cracklings

We also enjoy eating here because not only are Andrew and Valentina a wonderful and welcoming couple, but the rest of the staff also makes our experience special. Currently, James, Leanne, and Greg all say hello; ask us about our day; and other places we have eaten at lately. They understand we are here to enjoy the food, but to also relax and take a slow approach to dinner. This combination of good food and good staff along with the fortunate walking distance location keep us coming back time and again.

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