First, let's talk about the atmosphere. I pretty much fell in love with Rosso the second we walked in the door. It's intimate and dark, but not overly so. The walls are painted a fabulous garnet color (always a plus in Gamecock country), and the decor, at least around our table, appeared to be artwork from local artists. The restaurant is a very open space. The way our booth was positioned, we were actually looking out over the rest of the restaurant. If only we had been gnawing on a giant turkey leg, it would have been very Henry VIII. There was also a guy playing some rather Rat Pack-esque songs, which is always a plus in my book. And he was actually good, so that helped.
After a brief wait, we were led to our table. Thankfully, we had made a reservation, because the hostesses were actually having to turn people away at the door because they were booked solid. Surely that's a good sign. Like I said, our table was a booth up against a wall, that allowed us to look out over the rest of the dining room. It was a little odd being on display, but at the same time, it was pretty cool to be able to people watch. It was a pretty nice set up, and our table was beautifully laid.
|Just waiting for our appetizers. Love the grain of the wood here.|
|These were our choices for the evening.|
To start, L ordered the Bruschetta. It was a pretty good size for an appetizer, and it was delicious. The balsamic fennel was just the perfect addition. The bread was crispy and the greens added a nice color dimension. We were both fans.
|Kind of a lot of food, but totally worth every bite.|
I decided on the Insalata Caprese because I figured it would be light and a good way to start the meal. It was an excellent way to start the meal, but it was filling. The what I assume to be homemade ricotta was out of this world. It was served with crispy bread, but it was just fine to each it with a fork. There were roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh greens as well, which were excellent accents. The bread added a much needed crunch to the creamy cheese. Add in a little of the olive oil and the herb flavors in the cheese can to the front. I would order this again in a heartbeat. I would caution you though, that I didn't finish it. I didn't want to get too full before my entree arrived, so I left some on my plate, but I definitely wanted to finish it.
|Yes. That's a big ball of cheese. It was amazing.|
Now that we were almost totally sated from our appetizers, it was time to dig in to our entrees. L went with the one dish that I couldn't eat (probably a very smart and strategic move on her part), and ordered the Fontina-Spinach Ravioli with Shrimp. I did try some of the sauce in this dish, and I'm not quite sure how it was made, but it was outstanding. I really just wanted to drink it. L said that the fresh shrimp were perfectly cooked, and that the ravioli was divine. Everything about this dish looked wonderful, and I was once again cursing my shrimp allergy.
|Do you see now why I wish I could eat shrimp? Look at the size of those things!|
I finally stopped cursing my inconvenient allergy when I dug in to my own entree. I decided to go vegetarian for the night, and ordered the Stuffed Portabella. It was a roasted portabella cap stuffed with caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, farrow grain, and two different cheeses. It was topped with some fresh arugula, and a thin, spicy salsa. All of this sat atop a glorious mound of parmesan polenta. I'm actually at a loss for words to describe how good this dish was. And it was incredibly filling. I didn't actually finish what I had. I finished most of it, but not all. The stuffing was blended so well together and the flavors were just a beautiful explosion on my tongue. I would recommend this to anyone at any time.
|Look closely. Can you see the stuffing spilling over the mushroom? That's how full this was.|
Both L & I were so full we could barely move, but we still had dessert to get through. It was tough chore, and I know neither one of us finished, but we made a valiant effort. L ordered the Tiramisu. Despite my crazy love of coffee, I've never been a big tiramisu fan. This, however, was hands down the best tiramisu I've ever had. The cream on top was exceptionally light and fluffy. The cake was moist. The cinnamon sprinkled on top was a nice touch. Outstanding.
|Look at that. Is it any wonder that L didn't finish?|
I kept it in the same taste range, as I ordered the Cappuccino Torta. It was essentially chocolate cake with layers of espresso cream (with maybe a hint of Kahlua?), drizzled with raspberry sauce. How can you say no to that? Especially when there were fresh berries on the side. If only I had a second stomach...then I could have eaten this entire dessert. As it was, I managed about half. But that half was delicious.
|I love when fresh berries garnish a dessert.|