Restaurant week continues…

Friday night, we met up with our great friends JS & MS.

We had reservations at 730 at Ristorante Renato, which none of us had ever been to before, despite many years living in town. Renato is an old-school Italian restaurant, and feels immediately familiar even on the first visit. The food is classic Italian, with lots of white wine sauces, marinara sauces, and veal dishes.We decided to warm up with some drinks – MS had a sav blanc, I had pinot grigio, and the boys… Well, M ordered a dirty martini. JS, for some reason, decided to order one as well. He had never had one before. He hates olive juice. The drinks were served, he tasted it and said “well, it’s certainly dirty…”  JS was a champ and managed to finish it, though.

We all agreed on the restaurant menu from the get-go. M and MS ordered Oysters Rockefeller, and JS and I ordered the mozzarella in carozzo.

Here’s the thing: MS & I joke that our husbands are interchangeable. JS is as picky as I am about food, and MS and M are both the adventurous eaters with similar “favorites”. MS and M prefer red wine and seafood, JS and I are happy with sweeter white wines and basic chicken dishes. A double date match made in heaven!

Anyhoo, MS and M both really liked their Oysters. M said he liked this oyster dish better than True Luv, but only because Renato gave him two oysters instead of one. J and I both agreed the mozzarella was good, but we also wish the sauce had been thicker or poured on right before serving. The breading sat in the white wine sauce and of course got a little soggy. Sometimes the crunch is the best part, and I did miss that.

For entrees, MS and M both got tilapia with crabmeat, which was served as a generous portion. JS ordered the cheese ravioli, which looked wonderful and had perfect pillows of pasta. I ordered the Pollo Milano, breaded chicken in white wine sauce. It was accompanied by pasta with marinara sauce, which was perfect to cut through the white wine. We all cleared our plates!

For dessert, we decided to each get one of the three options. We asked our waitress to explain the Spumoni – she advised it was an ice cream dish with cherry, strawberry, and something blue. But DEFINITELY not pistachio. Maybe blueberry.

So of course, when the Spumoni arrived….the “blue” layer was bright green, pistachio, and had slivers of pistachios throughout. We thought it was hilarious, and while I’m not a fan of pistachio, it was still quite well made. M and JS ordered the cappucino panna cotta, and MS had the cannoli. The cannoli was small and had a pleasant cinnamon taste.

Afterwards, we trekked out into the cold and went a block down to Castiglia’s. Castiglia’s is another Italian restaurant that recently had an amazing renovation to a chic, modern, upscale neighborhood bar and restaurant. We squeezed into a table at the back and the boys had a beer, MS had another wine, and I had a Ciroc Chic (Ciroc, pineapple, pomegrante, twist of lime). We sat and talked, laughed, and caught up.

We had a delicious meal, but the company of great friends makes anything memorable and more fun.,d.b2I&psig=AFQjCNHVG3n6zryGvNFRE5KtFy1VqrVSYQ&ust=1363825453437098

Restaurant Week in Fredericksburg!

It’s a lovely time of the year! Our downtown restaurants offer 3 course dinners for $20.13.

M and I went to Kybecca first.  He had an appetizer of cuttlefish and sausage, followed by beet salad, and then braised pork cheeks. M also tried the wine flight. He enjoyed his food overall. The beet salad was a bit too large of a portion for him. I thought the braised pork cheeks would benefit from a sauce or jus of some sort. It was very fatty, which is great, but a bit dry.   The menu didn’t offer anything appealing to me, so I picked the hummus plate and the garlic truffle double-fried fries off the regular menu. The hummus needed a lot of salt, but was fresh and clean. The fries are addictive, and served with a cilantro aoli. A more acidic or stronger aoli would be wonderful – perhaps roasted red pepper. Fair warning: it’ll take a few days to get all that garlic out of your mouth!

M and I also went to True Luv’s, which is a lovely restaurant on the banks of the Rappahannock River. M had a fried oyster with caviar and a seafood risotto with scallop and shrimp. The risotto was creamy and well prepared. For dessert, he had a gingerbread cake with pumpkin ice cream, which he absolutely loved. I chose, from the regular menu, the fried chicken lollipops with clover honey and french onion soup. True Luv really has amazing frying techniques – we can’t decide if it’s the breading, the oil, or both. Their batter is always perfectly crispy, the meat wonderfully juicy, and just absolutely delicious. For dessert, I had a warmed chocolate cake with a healthy dollop of whipped cream. The cake was huge, but rich, moist, and delicious.