Really nice dinner at Malena
Was at Malena for an early dinner on Friday and had a truly lovely meal.
Started with an excellent bloody Caesar for DH and a surprisingly good glass of Greek sparkling wine (who knew?). Shared the fritto misto, which was huge and delicious. The kitchen has a deft hand with the fryer. The platter consisted of a ton of calamari, 3 large prawns, 3 tasty crab fritters and a pile of gigantes bean (battered, fried beans, who woulda thunk?). The calamari was incredibly fresh and tender, with a nice crunch from the light dusting of cornmeal. The prawns were fresh and wonderfully "shrimpy" tasting (I often find shrimp in restaurants tasting of nothing). I hogged the crab fritters for myself. And the beans -- a bowl of those would a perfect bar snack. Loved 'em.
Mains were the whole roasted sea bream and the sweet corn ravioli with king crab and arugula in a lemon butter sauce. A side of perfectly cooked snap peas to share rounded out our meal. The fish was perfectly cooked, perfectly fresh. Super simple with just olive oil and salt. It was accompanied by gigantes bean braised with tomatoes and rapini. I thought the side sounded rather fall-ish, but DH absolutely loved it and cleared his plate. My ravioli was incredibly rich, but delicious. The arugula helped cut the richness, but I could have used a little more acidity somewhere (a fresh squeeze of lemon would probably have been good). Nonetheless, I also cleaned my plate.
We were too full for a big dessert, so we each chose a scoop of gelato, which was a perfect amount of cool sweetness to end the meal.
Service was excellent -- friendly and accommodating without being obsequious or overly present. Our server made a wine rec for DH and thoughtfully brought a tasting first. After the first rec got a thumbs down, he brought another option that was perfect.
I totally love the space and was surprised that when we left at 8:30, I was surprised that the restaurant was barely half full. I could see happily ensconcing myself at the bar with a glass of wine and the fritto misto in the near future.
I've had my Summerlicious dinner at Malena this year, and I liked it very much. The main dish - grilled rock chicken (half) - was tender and juicy, unlike other places where grilled chicken is often dry and tasteless. Its dessert, some white chocolate wrapped phyllo pastries, was wonderful as well. My friends had lamb with fettuccine, however they didn't like it very much.
The only thing that bothered me was the lack of A/C upstairs. May be it was too hot outside, but it was pretty stuffy, esp. with the burning tea candles.