Thursday, March 09, 2006

Asiago's Ristorante, downtown Boise

Rating: 11110.5
Of course my food tripping wouldn't be complete without a visit to Boise's best Italian restaurant of 2005 and Boise Weekly's Editor's choice of 2005-- Asiago's Ristorante. I went to the restaurant downtown (since it was nearer) but they have a bigger one up town.

Asiago's downtown is a small 12 table affair with some great seats facing the street where you can go people watching while eating great Italian food. It would be a good idea to call for reservations specially on weekends or if there's a special occasion. (BTW, Asiago is a place in Italy)

The place is so small and cozy that I felt like I was stepping into some private Italian kitchen. Dried roses hung about the walls which seemed a bit morbid to me but at the same time very charming. Each table had brown paper 'tablecloths' that you could eat on. I noticed one of the waiters setting a table and meticulously folding the brown paper so it would rest on the table just so. The night that I went, it was a bit too noisy for me. Because of the romantic vibe, I was expecting some hushed chatter specially since there were a lot of couples around; however people weren't shy about making noise. Could it be the small-ness of the place or the relaxed, comfy, casual-ness of Italian cooking? (Or it could have been the wine-- they had a very extensive wine list!)

Brad (the server) seemed to go into a rehearsed auto-pilot spiel when I asked him what the specials were-- but he seemed so genuinely excited about his food and wine that I couldn't help but be enthralled, too!

The menu had so many good things to eat but I finally settled on the Funghi starter (mushrooms sautéed in champagne and butter finished with gremolata) which really whet my appetite! Together with the bread, I could have eaten this the whole night! Next was the Gnocchi (according to Brad it's pronounced nyo-ki)-- it was good but I think it would have been better shared and not to be eaten as a main dish. Plus, it may look tiny but it's really filling. Carbo overload! The menu changes depending on the season but I really liked their salmon with mango-artichoke sauce and cous cous. I would have loved to try the cheesecake dessert but as usual, I was too busog!

Four and a half pawikan points for this one. Plus points for Brad. Come here for dinner, bring your date, sit by the window and watch the snow fall while sipping red wine.

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