Wednesday, August 20, 2014

DOING DISHES: Chicken Parm at Grappa' 72 Ristorante

It's been a full year since Zena had lunch at Grappa' 72 Ristorante and did one of her first reviews for AlbanyDish. What took me so long to return?  Maybe I missed my friend the fly.

Red and Pony and I took a seat in the outside patio area despite another one of those annoying little rain squalls whipping up. Fresh herbs were growing in the planters and the sights and sounds of the parking lot were happily subdued by lovely surroundings, including music. Nothing like a classy lunch out to make you glow.

Last year there wasn't any greenery around the fenced off patio section. August 2013
August 2014
The lunch menu is sort of an abbreviated dinner menu; both seemed designed for the meal to be served in courses. Minestra e Insalata held no surprises (all $10 and under) - classic salads, soups, calamari, etc.; the house cured salmon looked interesting.  Seven pasta dishes, or Farinacci ($10-$13), were listed, including a special ravioli made with four cheeses topped with artichoke hearts and sun dried tomatoes in a garlic cream sauce. The selection was nicely varied. Three Risotti offerings ($13-$15) were also listed (one with scallops that looked terrific), followed by about 10 or so Piastra Calde - or Secondi dishes ($8 for the omelet of the day, to $14 for a dish with veal scaloppini and mushrooms). Warm bread and tapenade were served while we made up our minds what to order (we had this last year and remembered enjoying it then as well). Very garlickly, not chopped up too fine. Delicious. Pony was hungry and dug in quick before I had a chance to take a virgin photo!

She ordered the ravioli special, which turned out to be generous, very creamy, served in a lovely deep bowl. She thought the sun-dried tomatoes made the dish, which was very good, but wondered if maybe some of that basil growing on the patio would have brightened the flavors just a bit.

Red ordered the Salmone alla Grillia, a simple preparation (perhaps underseasoned) - and one of the few on the menu served with seasonal vegetables. It was a nice size portion and the yellow squash, zucchini and asparagus were very flavorful. Her meal was nicely balanced by the bread service.

20 points if you can guess what Zena ordered???

If you said "WINE" that would be incorrect.  We had to return to work after lunch. (:

NO, I ordered the Pollo alla Parmigiana!!! It was very good. The red sauce was heavily laced with parmesan or Romano cheese, something I wasn't expecting, so it was salty, clingy and thick, yet still very tasty with the flavors of garlic and herbs. The chicken was served nice and hot - tenderful and toothsome, but not crispy like I want it. The only downside was the dish carb heaven - tons of ziti - and yes, thank you, I ate them all. I would have preferred half that portion of pasta and a small side salad instead.
We finished up by sharing a serving of tiramisu - sweet and creamy; the texture of the lady fingers was nice and gooshy. Service slowed down a bit after our meals were brought out, but the staff were professional and kind in all respects. Oh and I had a decaf as well, since going back to work was low on my list of things I really wanted to do after such a nice meal. What's another 10 minutes, right???

Keeping in mind that the three of us were celebrating birthdays (not that superheroes age, FYI), AND I had one of those MetroMarket $40 gift certificates that I got for $20, AND it was turning out to be a beautiful day, AND we were all hungry, none of us were feeling all that extravagant. Most of the plates on the menu as it is now (compared to last year, if I remember right) seem to be lacking in something - usually vegetables - that would make a single order what I would call a well-balanced meal (carbs, protein, vegetables). So if that's important to you, this "eating right" stuff, it will bring the cost up to what I suggest is beyond the kind of "casual eat out regulars" daily lunch budget, so just keep that in mind.

Lunch for three with one dessert and one coffee was $48.87 with tax. A pretty good value.

Zena, Goddess of Fire

PS: I didn't miss the fly, but I did miss the veggies. 

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