I wish I would’ve brought my camera.
It was a wonderful meal! Going out to eat for Easter Sunday has become a tradition in my family. This year we tried a fairly new Italian restaurant in Sheboygan. Lino Ristorante Italiano is run by Italian-born restraunteur, Lino Autiero, who has operated restaurants in L.A. and Capri, Italy. To further his impressive credentials, he is also great friends with Wolfgang Puck and has directed the wedding of this famous chef. Before we even entered, I knew we would be eating well.
Oh goodness, I’ve never seen such an assortment of antipasto. Antipasto is an Italian term for appetizer or small plates. They often consist of marinated olives, prosciutto and cheese, or grilled and marinated eggplant. Of course there is much more. These were laid out on a center table for everyone to see. Although we did not order any, I was impressed with the authenticity.
Instead, we settled for the mushroom soup as a prelude to dinner. As the waiter brought out the bowls, my eyes grew wide. They were huge! “Don’t worry, you’ll eat it all,” he knowingly assured us. I dipped the spoon into the luscious broth. “Clinck!” The world’s most shallow bowl. When I tasted it, I wasn’t so relieved by the depth of its receptical. I would have been satisfied with soup and nothing else. Earthy and deep. This soup did justice to the mushroom. A single garlic toast floated on top, absorbing the flavor. I was in heaven.
Next came the main course.
I ordered veal scallopini with prosciutto and sage. This was rather delightful. I love, love, LOVE proscuitto. I really don’t have much to say about this dish other than it was delicious, and I wouldn’t hesistate to order it again. My brother and father both ordered the lamb chops topped with mint parsley pesto with a side of peas and oven-roasted potatos. The owner, Mr. Autiero himself, came over to the table a couple times to chat. He was delighted to see someone order the lamb (I think people tend toward pasta dishes in Italian restaurants). He told my father and brother not to hesitate to pick up the bone with their hands and eat off of it “like a dog”.
Now this is my kinda guy! Here we were in a fancy restaurant, being told to eat like animals. It really wasn’t about the atmosphere. It was all about the food. As it should be. He knew that the most flavorful part of the chops would be right next to the bone. If it means forgoing any sense of manner in an upscale restaurant to get the most out of your experience, by all means, eat like a dog.
Man was I full! This, however, does not stop me when I hear the word “dessert”. Oh no….never. Suddenly there is room for more. The waitress listed off a selection that included tiramisu, gelatos, sorbettos, cheesecakes, and tartuffi. All homemade. How could I pick?! Straying from my usual tendency towards chocolate, I chose a peach sorbet that piqued my interest. It was brought out in a martini glass. Inside was a hollowed out peach filled with the sorbet! What a refreshing way to end dinner! Light and fresh, the sorbet didn’t put me too over the top.
I’d love to venture back to this restaurant in the future. The atmosphere, service, and food were all spot-on. As we left, the owner shook each of our hands. It doesn’t get more personable and friendly than that! My family has already started talking about coming back in the summer when the weather is perfect for dining al fresco. Pinky promise I’ll bring the camera next time 🙂
Before I go, here’s a few snapshots of what I’ve been up to in my dinky yet beloved dorm kitchen in the last couple o’ days:
Huevos Rancheros with bacon and Beanie’s salsa.
Pork chops smothered in gravy with mushroom couscous and sauteed spinach.
Oh, and when I went home two weekends ago…there was cake.