It was a sad Easter this year as many children did not receive their usual Easter baskets. The Easter Bunny was missing this year and the children did not understand what had happened. But I knew, because I ate him the night before.
Rabbit Ravioli! I previously raved about the Rabbit Ravioli I had at Il Capriccio during their Le Piane wine dinner. After the French Rhône wine class, six of us ventured next door to have dinner at Il Capriccio. Everyone else but me had never been here before so it would be a new experience for them. I desperately hoped that they had Rabbit Ravioli on the menu.
But let us begin with the wines. Il Capriccio's wine list runs about 27 pages so it can seem intimidating. But that does not have to be the case. First, the initial six pages or so provide their featured wines and each has a descriptive paragraph so you can get a good idea about the type of wine. Second, the staff, and especially owner Jeannie Rogers, are more than happy to discuss the wine list with you and make suggestions based on your preferences. And they definitely won't try to push the more expensive wines. Jeannie seems to have an almost encyclopedic mind about Italian wines and she is a valuable resource for any diner seeking advice.
We asked Jeannie about a couple wines at the start of the evening and we began our meal with those two wines. And both wines were excellent as well as reasonably priced.
The first was a 2006 Podere Sanguineto Rosso di Montepulciano ($36). This region has an interesting history as it allegedly once was the battleground for some very bloody battles between the Etruscans and the Romans. Because of all the blood from these wars, the area was called "Sanguineto." This wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo grapes. It was a light red wine with good fruit. It was smooth and very easy drinking, a wine that would appeal to most people. This wine would be fine on its own or with food.
The second was the 2006 Tenuta Terre Nere Etna Rosso ($36). The vineyards for this winery are located on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily. Thus the soil is mostly volcanic ash with bits of black pumice and lots of volcanic rock. The vineyard is also organic. This wine is made from the Nerello Mascalese grape, one I had not had before. This was an intriguing wine, more powerful than the previous Montepulciano. It had more dark fruit flavors with an earthier taste. Though reminiscent of a rustic Pinot Noir, the wine also possessed its own unique flavor. We all enjoyed it though it definitely is more of a food wine.
During dinner, we also ordered a bottle of 2005 ReDondel Teroldego Rotaliano ($36.00) from Trentino. Teroldego is both the name of the grape as well as the region it comes from. The wine is very dark red, almost inky. It has a potent aroma of black berries and plums. It is a full-bodied wine with a complex melange of flavors, including dark berries and spice. The tannins do not overpower and the finish is very long and satisfying. This reminded me a little of a very good Zinfandel.
But what about the food? We started with a bunch of appetizers. Foie Gras with sweet potato, a Porcini Mushroom Souffle, Tuscan Bean Soup, Braised Short Rib over Goat Cheese Polenta, Salumi with Cheese & Olives. Everything was plentiful and delicious. I had two pieces of silky smooth Foie atop a creamy pile of mashed sweet potato. The Short Rib was also very tasty, with meat that just fell apart it was so tender. And the Polenta was creamy with that distinctive goat cheese taste.
On to the entrees. And YES, they did have Rabbit Ravioli on the menu, in both small and large dishes so you could have it as an appetizer or a meal. I had to have it as my meal. When it arrived, I never expected that they could have improved on it. It had been so delectable before. Yet they surpassed themselves. Besides the plentiful ravioli, there were pieces of tender rabbit atop the ravioli too! I even convinced two others in the group to order it as well and both loved it too. Simply a phenomenal dish.
Others at our table ordered the Steak, Lobster Risotto and Vegetarian Lasagna. All of the dishes were plentiful and quite good. There was very little left on our plates when we were done. And everyone had only complimentary things to say about their food. Not a single complaint.
Though we still had enough room to try some desserts. I had the Apple, Pear, and Pecan Crostata with Vanilla Ice Cream. The pastry shell was warm, flaky and fresh and contained plenty of fruit and nuts. And you could differentiate between the flavors of the apple and pear pieces. It was like an excellent pie ala mode. The Chocolate Budino was a big hit, a moist chocolaty cake with a very intriguing caramel ice cream. The Zabaglione and Berries was another big hit as was the Lemon Mousse.
With our dessetrts, we had a bottle of 2007 La Caliera Moscato d'Asti. This is a crisp wine, a bit fizzy and with a touch of sweetness. It is not cloying in the least and has a fragrant nose of lush fruit. It is quite delicious and was an excellent pairing with dessert.
Service was excellent. The servers were very unobtrusive, appearing only when needed and they were never pushy or trying to rush you. They were courteous and helpful. There were no mistakes with our orders. This is exactly the quality of service you want at these type of restaurants.
Everyone in my group was extremely pleased with the evening. And I am sure they will be returning to Il Capriccio. I certainly know that I will. Il Capriccio remains a very consistent, high-quality restaurant.
888 Main St.
Phone: (781) 894-2234