Restaurant da Piero
An enthusiastic plug. Went this friday at 7pm with three companions, and we all had a delightful meal. Beginning with the delicious warm flat bread, almost biscuit sweet, that you dredge through a balsamic/olive oil dipping plate of your own making, all the way to the FANTASTIC, creamy rich Tiramisu and aperitif end, there was nothing but good to great responses to the entire event. The ambience was charming, pretty but relaxed enough for comfort and in true Italian style, we were not rushed in the slightest, indeed we were the last table, lingering over coffees and our mutual satisfaction, and the proprietor came over and conversed leisurely with us about the meal. It seemed as though they only had one seating, and though the restaurant was nearly full, there was not a lot of bustle to flip tables The cost was so reasonable considering the quantity and quality of the items. My half italian/half cajun, great cook friend was esctatic about his carpaccio; getting him to rave about anything that his mother didn't make or he didn't have in italy is a pretty rare and notable thing. The bruschetta scored big with me, just the perfect amount of a fruity olive oil with beautiful ripe tomatoes, ribbon basil and garlic, on a thin and perfectly toasted piece of...baguette? Whatever it was, I loved it's fresh simplicity. Most of us had the Chef Paulo salad, which was a surprising wedge of (the menu says it's Bibb so I won't argue) lettuce with a non-tart, somewhat salty blue cheese dressing. It was a huge salad for the price, and while I like my blue cheese to have more pungent punch, I thought it was very good. My boyfriend, on the other hand, absolutely loved it, though he couldn't explain exactley why.
Continuing to entrees, I had the gnocci in gorgonzola and I am still craving the buttery rich, perfectly peppered sauce. It was subtle, delicious. Tthe gnocci were almost perfect (a few of different consistency, maybe a hare too tough, but as a whole great enough to fantasize about). The half italian also loved his duck, and my boyfriend, who isn't too often interested in pasta, said the handmade strozzapretti (sic) was really good. So I avoided his shrimp and tried a piece. Man, that fresh pasta, it's perfect. Has it's own texture meets flavor that the restaurant doesn't hide with a ton of sauce. The rest of the table shared the lobster ravioli special, and it was (obvious to the eye), loaded with lobster meat. There was a lot of moaning, except the boyfriend, who declared he doesn't really like ravioli, no matter where he tries it or what is in it. One diner's tortellini with bolognese seemed good, though it drew no raves, and the porkchop special seemed to ellicit a similar, very good, fully satisfied but not "write home to mama" great response. The fella that helped bus the table also sang opera at intervals, which could have been intrusive and a bit much, but was actually beautiful and not overpowering to the table's (admittedly at those points, hushed) conversations. We had a few bottles of very reasonably priced italian wines (they are very helpful in our choosing) and after desserts all around, besides the forementioned tiramisu, I thought the creme brulee really really good. Rich and creamy, nicely carmelized crust. The only less than complimentary comment was on the zuppa inglese, which "the italian" said was fine, but that he could do better. They do not offer an extensive dessert menu, but that seems correct- the priorety is in the dinner...(and the tiramisu was fabulous) We were all so well fed, well attended, amused by the opera and warmed by the affordable prices (and wines) that we couldn't let anything bother us. It is sooo worth the trip to the deepest far reaches of Kenner. Highly reccomended.