I had not heard of this restaurant before but that's only because it's not in my area. It is located in the city of Irvine, California. We were invited to an Italian Thanksgiving 4-course dinner party given by Vino-Direct, an Italian Wine Distributor here in Southern California. It was hosted by non other than the alluring and charming Elisabetta Cressi.
Sujata, Mertz, Sandi and I were lucky enough to be invited to this intimate event. The restaurant was impressive. Wine bottles lined one wall and they had a bar and a huge pizza oven. There were tables set aside for our party and we were the first to arrive. Elisabetta was preparing the wines that were to be paired with our courses. She started us off with a welcome drink, Franciacorta Brut DOCG La Montina Sparkling Wine. The menu looked great.
We first had an Antipasto which was an Insalata d' Autunno. The slightly bitter radicchio leaves were great with big slivers of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano and tossed with aged balsamic. The Nero d' Avola wine was a perfect pairing for this salad. We all finished our salads.
The Primi was a Pappardelle all' Agnello. We loved the thick ribbon egg noodles that were cooked aldente of course. The lamb ragu was delicious. We enjoyed that so much that we forgot there was another course. Sujata had a Spaghetti with a red meatless sauce. For our Secondi, they served Tagliata di Manzo; prime flat iron steak served with roasted cipollini onions and Brussels sprouts topped with olive oil. They served an Eggplant dish to our vegetarian friend, Sujata. I had a bite of hers and it was delicious. The tagliata di manzo was cooked to perfection. It was tender and juicy. I couldn't get over how much I enjoyed the cipollini onions that were so sweet. Sandi, Mertz and Sujata hardly ate their food since they were so full. I was too but I couldn't stop eating since I was enjoying it so much. I left 1 piece and donated it to Mertz to add to her food to take home.
Gelato Con Fragole was our dessert. The vanilla gelato was nice and creamy.
We were lucky to meet Chef Jonah as he brought out one of the courses. We all commended him for a job well done.
The hour and a half drive on the 405 Freeway was worth it. We really enjoyed ourselves. We all thank Elisabetta for a delightful evening; sorry we missed Paolo.