Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Welcome Return of Prezza

Prezza is on fire! 

I am speaking figuratively of course. After suffering a terrible kitchen fire last July, Chef & Owner Anthony Caturano reopened Prezza on January 10. Prezza is one of my favorite Italian restaurants so I eagerly looked forward to their reopening. Last week, I returned to the restaurant for dinner and though they have been reopened for less than three weeks, it seemed as if they were back at the top of their game. The kitchen was not rusty in the least. Prezza is back and you need to dine there.

After a chocolate tasting at Cocoanuts, I went to Prezza for dinner with a few friends and fellow bloggers, including Adam, Jen and Kerrie. None of them had ever dined at Prezza before. They all left the restaurant thoroughly impressed, well sated after an incredible meal. You can check out Jen's review and Kerrie's review of their dining experience at Prezza. As someone who has dined there before, I found everything was as good as ever and it continues to receive my highest recommendation.

During the course of the evening, we enjoyed two bottles of wine, including the 2007 La Spinetta Barbera D'Asti Ca' Di Pian ($42) and the 2007 La Spinetta Nebbiolo Langhe ($54). La Spinetta is a consistently good producer and both of these wines were delicious, pairing well during the course of our meal. Prezza's wine list has over 800 choices, and there are some incredible wines on the list which will thrill any wine lover. Though many might prefer to order Italian wines, the list includes wines as well from all over the world. The list tends to be reasonably priced and there are good wines available at all price points.

We began our meal with a few appetizers, including Anchovy stuffed eggplant with scamorza and roasted tomato ($16), Lambrusco braised Chicken Thigh with grilled bacon and crispy potatoes ($16), and the Chestnut soup with croutons, duck confit and white beans ($15). I didn't try the eggplant but was assured by Jen that it was delicious. The chicken thigh was amazing, with tender, moist meat accompanied by a rich, compelling wine flavor. The thick slice of bacon and crispy potatoes enhanced the dish, which I would definitely order on a future visit.

I ordered the chestnut soup and was not disappointed in the least. The creamy, rich soup had a prominent nutty taste that was complemented by the tender duck slices and the beans. The crunchy croutons were a nice addition and I could have easily devoured a dozen more of those too. A hearty dish for the winter, it makes for a good starter.

Chef Caturano then generously sent us a couple complimentary dishes of pasta, including Chestnut Raviolini with pulled duck, butter and parmigiano cheese and Potato Gnocchi “a la Bolognese”, a rustic meat ragout with, tomato, porcini cream and pecorino cheese. I have long been a huge fan of his pasta dishes and both were superb. In both dishes, the pasta was cooked perfectly, the sauces were well spiced and balanced, and each bite made you crave another. I would highly recommend both dishes, and in fact, any pasta made at Prezza.

For an entree, two opted for the Seared Sea Scallops with squid ink gnocchi, lobster, cherry tomatoes and basil lobster broth ($34), one for the Fish Stew, lobster, swordfish, shrimp, clams, mussels, squid, lobster broth, toasted bread with saffron aioli ($38). I heard raves for the Scallops and Stew, and both dishes had ample portions. Prezza doesn't skimp on quantity, and also does not sacrifice quality.

I went for Bambi, aka Venison Loin with grilled cabbage and amarone risotto ($38), though I opted out on the cabbage. The venison loin was a good-sized hunk of meat and I savored every bite. Cooked nicely, it was moist and flavorful, as appealing as any piece of beef. The risotto was also amazing, perfectly cooked rice with a rich flavor bringing to mind red fruits and spice. I was well satisfied with this dish.

Though tempted by the Zeppole with salted pecans and chocolate sauce on the Dessert Menu, I was just too full, like everyone else at the table, to order dessert. It didn't help that we had sampled numerous chocolates before coming to Prezza.

Service was excellent, as usual, and we all had a great evening, filled with fine food and wine, excellent conversation and plain fun. I am so pleased that Prezza has reopened and cannot recommend it enough. The food is as exquisite as ever, they don't skimp on quantity, and there are plenty of excellent choices for drinks. I wish Chef Caturano and the staff at Prezza much luck and I hope to return there again soon.

I must try the Zeppole.

1 comment:

In and Around Town said...

so excited Prezza is back - always one of my top recommendations!