Review: Marcellino's (PHX)
I went last week to Marcellino's for my birthday dinner with my fiancee (thanks to the recs on the boards). We had made reservations far in advance, and my FI told them ahead of time of the special occasion (thanks to Bill Hunt for that rec). We arrived early and there were a fair amount of people there - always a good sign for a weekday. Sima met us at the door, said happy birthday to me, and sat us right in the window (I believe the special room in the back was already filled).
Before even placing our drink order, she gave us a special dish of salami, parmigiana reggiano and an olive. Very nice touch. I was in the mood for a cocktail so I ordered the Marcellinocino (or something to that effect that was pretty difficult to pronounce), with vodka and homemade limoncello. It was extremely strong and delicious. The bread came warm, with a nice crusty interior and a soft chewy interior, along with a red pepper tapenade. Also excellent. I think that bread is a very good indicator for quality of a restaurant. Too many places skimp out on this important detail.
I was overcome with indecision, so I asked our waitor for advice on the starter and main courses. He recommended the beef carpaccio appetizer which I then ordered. It was amazing - thin pieces of raw beef over arugula, shaved parmigiana reggiano and a lemony vinagrette. It was extraordinarily fresh and light. I was intent on trying one of their homemade pasta dishes and with the help of our waitor, I settled on a porcini mushroom tagliatelle with chunks of lobster, mushrooms, and truffle oil. Truly one of the best pasta dishes I have ever tried. The pasta noodles were silky and wonderful (which was not overcome by the porcini mushrooms). The lobster meat was superb, and the whole dish melted in my mouth. I could have eaten two platefuls, it was so yummy. I also had a glass of Chardonnay with the pasta, another recommendation from our waitor, who steered me away from a lighter Pinot Grigio. The wine complimented the pasta beautifully. My FI ordered the filet mignon with a barolo sauce (this was his only course as he is a very picky eater). The filet was cooked just right and the barolo sauce was fantastic--rich and yet sweet at the same time. It is now my quest to figure out how to make this sauce!!!
For dessert I had an apple galette with hazelnut gelato and homemade caramel sauce. Wonderful. The galette had a great sweetness, and the gelato was fabulous. Perfect ending to a truly spectacular meal.
The service was great too - our waitor was very helpful with suggestions and always attentive to our needs. The atomsphere was very nice and the bathroom too was surprisingly cozy! I HIGHLY recommend Marcellino's to anyone who loves Italian food, especially to those who crave fresh pasta. Thanks again to all for helping with the recommendations!!
So glad that you enjoyed the event. You may have struck it lucky, as the "back room" can be a bit warm, this time of the year. We were there about 2 weeks ago, and found the AC being taxed there. I should have done a review, but you just hit most of the high points, so my comments on our dining would be rendered moot.
You are a better person, than I am, as you held out for dessert. I have yet to make it that far, but we usually do a handful of "starters."
Never have visited the bathrooms, so it's nice to know that they are good.
BTW, happy birthday!