Monday, September 3, 2007

The Red Table

Ever had the red table treatment? Last night New Husband and I went to Il Fornaio for our first 'date night' as a married couple, and got quite the surprise. Apparently we made the right impression when making our reservation because we were selected as the Red Table for the evening. They rolled out all the stops for us, and what would have been a nice pleasurable meal was outstanding instead.
Started at this branch of the restaurant, the twosome at the red table receives a little special treatment- complimentary bottled water, samplings of appetizers and desserts along with your regular meal. Attentive service is also given throughout. The assistant manager came over to explain it to us and he made a wonderful impression, asking us if we had any dietary needs. They quickly responded to New Husband's shellfish allergy and modified the first appetizer, which was brought out promptly. Crab cake with mierre poix garnish for me, tomato and buffalo mozzarella for him accompanied by a delicious bruschetta. We ordered and enjoyed a bottle of Cambria Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara which was light and refreshing throughout the meal.
Our next appetizer was a single tortelloni each- a beautiful sun colored pasta filled with butternut squash, walnuts, and ricotta, topped with a fried sage leaf. A deeply satisfying little nibble- I imagine if I ordered the full dish it would be too much, so this little sampling was a wonderful treat.
New Husband ordered the gnocchi with marinara sauce for his entree- the homemade gnocchi were light and airy, just what good gnocchi should be. He generously shared one with me, along with the tomatoes on his plate which he doesn't care for but I love. I had a delicious seafood appetizer as my entree- calimari, squid, scallops and shrimp, grilled with a delicious parsley sauce. The seafood were little gems, grilled to perfection and the leftover parsley sauce was perfect with bread.
Just when we didn't think the meal could get better, it did: Our waiter brought us a sampling plate of desserts....each! Apple crepe, berry and creme anglaise, vanilla gelato, and chocolate mousse cake with a berry liqour in the center. All were delicious, and we cleaned our plates. New Husband enjoyed the apple crepe the most (to my surprise and delight- apple person over here). I would have to agree, apples and crepes being high on my list of loves, but the other desserts held their own. We left the restaurant feeling contented and happy, with a lingering light-headedness from the bottle of wine we had just consumed.

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