Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Sotto Sopra Birthday

I subscribe to the Sotto Sopra newsletter and get info on all the fabulous goings-on at the restaurant, including a list of customers who celebrate birthdays in that month. I was thrilled to find my name on the November list, for that meant I'd have a free dinner coming to me! Or at least $30 off my tab.

November is a busy month but Mr Minx and I were able to snag a table on Saturday the 28th. Despite our getting to the restaurant at 5:30 PM (yes, we eat early, like old people) the place soon filled up. It was nice to see that kind of happy crowd in a local restaurant and I hope that is a usual situation for Sotto Sopra.

On to the food. After much deliberation, I chose the sauteed calamari, which was cooked with green olives, broccoli rabe, and copious capers, making for an interesting tangy/bitter flavor profile. The calamari were perfectly cooked, tender and luscious, and the portion was more than generous.

Mr Minx chose the prosciutto platter, which came with grilled veggies, a salad, olives, and some yummy fresh soft mozzarella. (I would love to dive head-first into a vat of fresh mozz! Heaven!) Like the calamari, this was a generous portion and would have made a great lunch with some crusty bread.

I had the risotto del giorno, which was studded with lobster and asparagus. It was a very light version of risotto, and the combination of flavors would be perfect in the spring but was a little odd at the end of November. And it needed a bit of salt, which was not on the table and I didn't want to make our already-busy waitress (who was fab, by the way) run all the way to the kitchen to retrieve some.

I really should have, though, as Mr Minx's fazzoletti Bolognese also needed a dose of salt to bring out the long-simmered meaty goodness of the sauce.

After all that and lots of fresh, soft, foccaccia bread, we were stuffed and declined dessert. Instead, we enjoyed a glass of prosecco, sent our way by a lovely friend.

We like Sotto Sopra a lot - the decor, the convivial atmosphere,and the service are all top notch. The food, however, is always a bit inconsistent. Only our first meal there was "perfect" but we have had several stellar dishes since then. There are never any actual failures, but the problems encountered are so obvious and so easily fixable, that they are always a surprise. While I don't expect perfection from the majority of restaurants, somehow I always want Sotto Sopra to be the total package. And I'll continue to eat there because I'm confident that it's a reachable goal.

Sotto Sopra
405 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD
Sotto Sopra on Urbanspoon