La Rustica

The mister and I had a romantic birthday dinner out at La Rustica tonight. It was one of those perfect nights, the stars were aligned and the food gods looked kindly down upon us.

First, to set the scene, La Rustica is a tiny place, 10-12 table tops, with a view to die for out the front window, straight and unobscured out to Puget Sound, evoking a vague island feel. The sun peaked through the February clouds to give us a hint of a peachy-pink sunset as we were seated.

With memories of a delicious, but overpriced and overly precious meal at Beato (our first dinner out since Ruby) we were a little leary of pricey restaurants leaving us hungry as we drove home. As soon as well perused the menu at La Rustica, we were put at ease. The wine list afforded us a reasonably priced Rosso di Montelcino and the Antipasti, Bruschetta and Pizza offerings on the first page of the menu were abundant with choices for every taste bud. We opted for the Mussels in white wine and garlic - plump and fat with a slight briney tang, fresh and devourable. At first glance of the menu, my eyes settled on a crostini of chicken livers, eggplant and tomatoes and I knew that would be my choice. I happen to love chicken livers and was delighted to see them offered not once, but twice on the menu here (the other choice being a pasta dish with a tomato sauce). The crostini were topped with fresh garlic and parsley as well as a generous heap of the chicken liver mixture. This was one of those dishes that got us discussing how we might make it at home. That's always a good sign.

With a luxuriously long pasta page and a well chosen meat and fish list as well as 5 (!) specials, we set to deciding our entrees. This restaurant is known for its lamb offerings, so the mister's decision was made for him the minute the waitress said "lamb shanks". I chose a Risotto with creamy pesto and shrimp, since I've been a little obesessed with risotto lately - it's something so rustic, yet slightly tempermental that fascinates me. When the plates arrived, we were thrilled and the mister knew that there'd be no late night bowl of cereal in his future. The lamb shank was HUGE (as were his eyes!) and came with sauteed veggies and spaghetti with a light marinara. My risotto was creamy with a slight toothiness to each grain of rice - perfect. Dessert was ok - we had a chocolate and vanilla brulee - but the prosecco and limoncello ended the night right.

There's no doubt that we'll be returning to La Rustica again and again. But we'll always come early - even at 5:30 it was almost packed on a saturday night!


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