by wanderer 2005
September 8, 2005
I visited the Mesa location and was greeted with dark woods, soft lighting, and white tablecloths to set the mood.
The menu isn’t your "typical" Italian dishes, like spaghetti and ravioli. Nina Vincenti, the chef, has created dishes that offer many different types of sauces and flavors.
To start off, bread baskets are brought over with focaccia-type bread, and on the side are dishes of garlic herb butter. I could eat just that for my meal; it’s so good. The bread is crispy and slightly salty on the outside and tender inside. It pairs perfectly with the garlic butter. Heck, I could slather that butter on my foot and eat it.
The appetizers menu only has a few items, but you don’t really need to fill up before your dinner comes. I like the escargot in spinach garlic butter. Snails served with spinach and hot garlic butter with lemon slices is all you need to get the evening off to a great start. The calamari fritti is also a fave. The calamari is lightly breaded and deep-fried, but never greasy. A light marinara sauce served on the side makes it perfect for before dinner.
Dinner is something very special here. Great care has been taken to prepare your meal, and it shows. The best dish on the menu, in my opinion, is the chicken fiorentina with penne panna rosa. This is a chicken breast topped with spinach and mozzarella cheese, sautéed in a creamy cognac sauce, and served with a side of penne pasta with your choice of sauce. Let me tell you, this dish is incredible. The sauce was so good, I HAD to sop it up with my bread. I couldn’t let any go to waste. The gnocchi was outstanding as well. You get small potato dumplings in your choice of sauce. The waiter suggested the signature sauce, which is a base of cream sauce with a light tomato sauce on top. He couldn’t have been more on the money. The dumplings were tender and the sauce was creamy and slightly sweet. Other signature dishes are penne della casa, which is penne pasta with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, escarole, and sun-dried tomatoes sautéed in garlic and olive oil and topped with Romano cheese. Man, this place is good.
Dessert is also a treat. I had what they call cappuccino crunch, which is coffee and vanilla gelato in an Oreo cookie crust topped with white and milk chocolate. YUM! I tell ya, I was planning my next visit before dinner was even over.
From journal Desert Oasis