We don't typically eat out for Valentines' Day. But, when I saw that Il Grillo was taking reservations, I thought: well, my three guys do love Il Grillo...as do I.
So, I clicked a few times, received my confirmation email, and announced to my three that we had a dinner date! As always, Jay took good care of us.We even got to meet his wife, Anne, as they were having a working date night.
Jake and I started with flutes of Prosecco. Every celebration is better with Italian bubbles. Cin cin!
I brought some sparkling rosehip juice for the boys. Cheers!
The polpo piccolo piatto is always a favorite. This time it was stewed in braised tomato and served with olives and capers.
Jake actually didn't share this time around. But it looked delicious.
The boys and I wanted to try some new things. So we ordered the calamari small plate, tender rings served with cicci (garbanzo beans) in a spicy tomato broth. D is sensitive to garbanzo beans, but he promised not to eat any; he picked through and just grabbed the squid. And I loved the large chunks of garlic and ribbons of fresh lemon zest.
And for our first-time culinary adventure, we ordered vitello tonato, beef tongue with tuna conserva, arugula, onions, and aioli. I am not a squeamish eater, but I will admit that my stomach did a little flip-flop when D read that on the menu. "R - they don't have tripe on the menu. How about beef tongue?" They have certainly embraced my try-everything-once guidelines!!
It was nicely crisped with tons of fresh, delicious flavors. Capers, herbs, and fresh red onions. I loved it all.
The boys ordered their favorite pastas - ricotta gnocchi with wild boar pancetta sugo and pappardelle with wild boar. Jake ordered a salad with gorgonzola vinaigrette. And I, sticking with one of my absolute favorite dishes, ordered the whole roasted Branzino with an orange caper butter and fennel. How they prepare it varies, depending on what ingredients are available, but it's always amazing.
Despite the fact that I had sweets planned at home, Jay brought us some red wine cake and an orange cake with a raspberry coulis. My boys happily dug in. I did bow out of the spiced hot chocolate with heart-shaped marshmallows I had planned once we got home. But I'm sure they'll harangue me for it tonight.
We were there, eating, talking, and laughing for over two hours. This was the perfect dinner with my three Valentines! We were one of the first tables seated. And when we left, there was a line of people waiting to get in. Glad we got there early.
Oh, and on a final note: they had a wild boar burger on the menu. Yes, you read that correctly. Wild. Boar. Burger. I have no idea if it's a permanent addition, but I do know that I saw Jay bring it out to a diner next to us and I cannot wait to try it. It was a burger with Calabrian chili oil topped with pecorino, wild mushrooms, pancetta, and a fried egg. O dio!