Barolo Grill

People have been telling me to check out Barolo Grill, located on busy 6th Avenue, for a while now.  A coworker said that it was one of the top places in the city to go for Italian food, and that the Grill closes down for 2 weeks in the summer so that the chefs can go to Italy and learn new techniques.  I’ve passed the restaurant a hundred times (usually on my way to Target to spend some time in my happy place), but Dan and I didn’t get around to going there until just recently.  In hindsight, maybe we should have gone there sooner. 

Our 6th dating anniversary was upon us, and we decided to mark the occasion by going out to a nice dinner.  We still celebrate our dating anniversary since our wedding anniversary usually conflicts with Christmas plans, and it can be hard to schedule time by ourselves.

Although OpenTable showed almost no availability, we were able to secure a last minute reservation for 5:30 on a Saturday night, and since we don’t mind eating at senior citizen times, that was no problem for us.  We showed up on time to a half-filled restaurant.  The atmosphere was nice, with a big fireplace near the front windows, perfect for a cold rainy night.  Unfortunately, we were seated away from the window in the raised portion of the dining room. 

Our dinner started with butternut squash and sage puree and a rosemary roll, both of which were delicious.  The puree was so good that I wanted to lick the plate, and the rosemary added a perfect flavor to the rolls.  I made garlic and rosemary rolls a few thanksgivings ago, and I don’t remember them being this good.  Maybe I should have added more rosemary?

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My coworkers told me that I had to try the fritto misto, so we made sure to order that first.  When the plate of fried scallops, calamari, and rock shrimp showed up, we were glad that we did!  The batter wasn’t too heavy, with just the right amount of Old Bay seasoning in it, and the creamy pesto dipping sauce served on the side complemented the marinated arugula and basil in the dish.  I’m still trying to decide which part was tastier, the seafood or the pesto.

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I ordered the risotto con salsa verde for my entrĂ©e and was surprised by how large the dish was.  Barolo offers tastings of their pastas, and I recommend that size, especially if you’re thinking of following the traditional Italian pattern and having a secondi afterwards.  At first, it seemed like a strange combination - Mexican salsa verde, French escargot, and Italian risotto – but the different flavors worked very well together.  I’ve never had such a light and fresh tasting risotto before.  The butter poached escargot were definitely the highlight of the dish, though.  Somehow half of them disappeared before my very eyes.  Dan couldn’t explain it because his mouth was full.   

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In addition to stealing half of my snails, Dan ordered the seared scallops with smoked Olathe corn sauce, Yukon potatoes and crispy prosciutto.  I had a couple of tastes, and while the corn sauce by itself was too smoky for me, it went well with the scallops.  The prosciutto was crisped into three salty and delicious chips.

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We had no room for dessert after all of that food, but we totally enjoyed our trip to Barolo.  Next time, though, I’ll order my pasta as a tasting so I don’t feel like I have to roll home.
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