Sunday, May 16, 2010

Iozzo's Garden of Italy

To kick off a much needed vaca, FLOE decided to be treated to a nice sit down dinner.  We finally decided on Iozzo's, as it has been on our list of places to check out since it re-opened last July.

We arrived for early dinner, just after 4pm, and were immediately seated toward the back of the restaurant.  Talk about a piece of artwork!  Beautiful place.  Exposed brick, huge archway to the bar area, etched glass dividers, hand blown glass lighting fixtures, contemporary yet comfortable chairs, original hardwoods...too bad we can't just move in...always dreamed of a downtown condo! ;)  Anyway, nice pad!

We decided to forgo an appy as there was bread and olive oil at the table and we were thinking Italian desserts must be sampled! The bread was a good sour dough and the dipping sauce had an extra fresh feel with diced tomato incorporated...good start.  We also went for a carafe of the house red...awesome.  Not too heavy and seemed to go well with everything.
Fred was struggling between the lamb, eggplant, or pork medallions...Libby the salmon, orzo, or duck breast...
Finally Fred went with the Lamb Porter House Chops and Libby the Salmon Piccata.  Ozzy decided on the kids spaghetti with marinara.

Both came with house salads and sides...Libby substituted her house for a spinach salad.  Good idea!  Tossed in a bacon vinagrette with dried cranberries, cucumber and almond slivers, it was the best salad Libby had encountered in recent memory!  Never had wanted to lick a salad bowl before...
The house salad tossed in a basalmic vinagrette was good, but Fred agreed that bacon makes everything better! ;)

All entrees came out in a timely manner.  Ozzy quickly dove in and didn't say much the entire meal.  Libby was very happy from the first bite of salmon... very moist, crisp outside, with a nice medium inside...almost melted in your mouth.  Green beans were very well seasoned. Libby was sure to ask for her side spaghetti with the sauce on the side...anytime an entree with a great sauce is ordered at an Italian restaurant, for some reason, it comes with the marinara all over do you sop up yummy piccata sauce with your pasta if there is marinara all over it?  So, lesson learned...if ordering an entree with it's own yummy sauce, and it comes with the "spaghetti side," get the marinara on the side. The marinara was pretty light on flavor and spice, so it was a really good decision.
Fred had a slightly different experience with his entree.  Sadly, the Lamb chops were the one true disappointment of the evening. While well-seasoned, Fred's "medium" lamb chops were far past the well done stage.  Tough and rubbery, if young children weren't present, we would have sent them back.  But as always, time is of the essence with an 8 month old in tow.  Fred found the green beans delightful and agreed that the seasoning on the marinara was almost non-existent.  Perhaps, this sauce would go well with a spicy meatball, but couldn't stand on it's own and should not be offered as the standard side dish.  Next time, I will opt for the Yukon mashed potatoes.

Dessert time!  Having felt shortchanged by his lamb, even Fred opted for his own plate. There were several good looking options, so everyone got to try something! It came down to the featured raspberry cheesecake for Ozzy, the lemoncello tart for Fred, and the Iozzo chocolate pyramid for Libby.

All were happy here.  The cheesecake was not shared with anyone until Ozzy was stuffed.  He even turned down a bite of mommy's chocolate to stave off sharing a bite!

Fred's tart was surprising and whimsical.  There were several different flavor combinations depending on where you stuck the spoon.  Fred made sure not to leave any on the plate!

Libby's chocolate mousse was just as it should be, light yet rich in flavor.  A rare thing to have a small dessert with such a sweet-tooth-satiating quality.  A perfect ending to her perfect meal.

Wrap Up
Price-$$$$, Price limits Iozzo's to more than a casual dinner out. 
Atmosphere-****, Beautifully restored building with a killer outdoor area which we look forward to enjoying on our next visit.
Service-***, We enjoyed our server's heavy Italian accent as well as his recommendations on desserts.

Fred - B, This experience is really hard to rate.  It's bolstered by the 4-5 other dishes on the menu I'm dying to try, yet harpooned by a main course that should never have left the kitchen.  All other aspects of the meal were delicious though and my overall experience was certainly an enjoyable one.     
Libby -A, Very happy with all aspects of the meal, the atmosphere...other than the hefty bill, you can't beat this Italian experience.
Ozzy- B+, Seemed to enjoy his pasta, definitely liked the dessert.
Estelle-B+, Welcomed by the staff(high chairs available).  Although she almost had a close encounter with the floor as her high chair had no crotch strap and she is still a wee bit squirmy.

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1 comment:

Austin said...

My wife and I have been here three times now, the last of which was on Valentine's Day. Iozzo's had a Valentine's special that was very affordable. $100 for two. It came with an appatizer, salad for each, an entre for each and two desserts as well. The best part was having a glass of wine paired with each course of the meal, and it was all included in the price. I highly recommend Iozzo's.