Saturday, December 12, 2009

Villa Berulia, a warm Italian haven

Saturday night, after Rick waited all day for another group at work to finish their extract, we decided to go out for dinner. Even if the other group finished, we wouldn't be gone that long, and he could still kick off the feed to the test search system tonight.
Since we wanted to stay close to home, I suggested we try Villa Berulia - I walked by on my way to the Post Office on Friday, and saw they have low carb options, as well has delicious sounding pastas. I wanted to try it, and it was close, so after (very little) arm twisting, Rick hit the shower and got dressed.
The restaurant has 3 separate rooms, and each room contains 4 or 5 tables of various sizes. It looks like a great place to have a group if you call ahead!
Rick ordered a grey goose and I had a glass of pinot grigio as we looked over the menu. The specials sounded really delicious, and we negotiated to determine who would have the roasted beet and goat cheese salad :) In the end, I noticed the stuffed mushroom appetizer (Antipasto di Funghi), and decided to try it. I was so glad I did! 5 mushrooms were served on a bed of spicy arugula with pan juices. The mushrooms were stuffed with a cube of goat cheese and topped with the pan sauce - they. were. fantastic! The small mushrooms were the size I prefer, and the arugula was the perfect compliment. I also tried Rick's roasted beet salad - I had expected the beets and the cheese to be warm, but they were cold. Rick liked the salad, but I was pleased with my choice.
For dinner I chose the buccatini carbanara with mushrooms (Buccatini al Funghi). Rick chose the Parpardelle with venison ragout (Parpardelle al Ragu di Capriolo). The server let him know that they were out of parpardelle, but were happy to subsitute a different pasta. Rick accepted the suggested rigatoni, and we enjoyed our cocktails. A few minutes later the server came back to let us know that they are out of the venison ragout as well. Rick looked at the menu again and I encouraged him to choose the Agnoloti, a ravioli made with spinach pasta and marscapone cheese with a puree of artichoke hearts.
Dinner came, and Rick's dish contained eight artfully arranged ravioli with a beautiful pink vodka sauce all around. Mine was a dish of swirled buccatini with mushrooms and bacon and the gorgeous carbonara sauce. Our dishes were served wonderfully hot, and we dug in. Mine was fantastically earthy (from the mushrooms) and smokey (from the bacon) and I knew I'd never finish it. Rick let me taste his - a homemade pillow of pasta with a smooth cheese filling hinting at an earthy vegetable essence covered with a creamy vodka sauce - YUM!
After dinner we declined dessert, and a plate of anise biscotti appeared! Rick really likes these cookies! While we were negotiating the check (signing the visa bill) the Matre'd asked us if we'd like a little drink. He brought us a couple small brandy snifters with peach schnapps on ice. I'd never had this before, and I have to say, if I had, Mom you would never have gotten those bottles when we moved :)
I'm glad we found this neighborhood gem. I'm looking forward to returning soon!