Friday, July 22, 2011

La Grotta Ristorante

Address: Vicolo Cesuola, 19, 47023, Cesena (FC), Italy. 054722734.

Review: Having eaten at Tre Papi a few nights beforehand in Cesena, we sought out a new experience at La Grotta Ristorante, which is located a hop, skip, and a jump away from Cesena's Piazza's del Popolo. And, having eaten a bit too much meat the day before, this meal was all about the vegetables.

Our meal began with a complimentary starter of baked ricotta.

I had never experienced bake ricotta before, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The ricotta was delicately salted throughout, although, amazingly enough, the oven-browned portion on top had a slight sweetness to it. Great contrast of flavors. I was afraid the ricotta would become stringy upon cooking in the oven, but that wasn't the case at all. Instead, it retained that individual curd structure while being light and creamy at the same time. Very good.

Next up were the passatelli agli asparigi (passatelli with asparagus).

Passatelli are interesting pastas in that their base is not flour, eggs, and water, but bread crumbs, parmigiano reggiano, nutmeg, and eggs. Once the ingredients are mixed together, the passatelli are extruded and cooked in boiling water. In this way, they are similar to spaetzle, but with a more salty and robust flavor. These passatelli were cooked al dente, and had a good amount of parmigiano in them. The asparagus alternated between slices that were light and had been thoroughly cooked to heads that still had a little tooth to them. Simple, clean dish that hit the spot.

Lastly, my wife and I shared the contorni plate.

As you can see, it's a plate of grilled and roasted vegetables. You know, it was okay. I've come to learn that I'm just not a plate-o'-veggies kind of guy. Everything tasted nice, and the bread crumbs of some of the vegetables were a nice textural touch, but nothing stood out to me as really good here.

In fine, we really enjoyed the cheese and the primi. Leave the vegetable contorni to the rabbits and a secondo of carne instead. Honestly, though, La Grotta is a good, centralized dinner option in Cesena.

Rating: 7/10 (5/10 is average).

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