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Friday, June 27, 2014

Café Prima Pasta

     Happy Birthday to me! I'd been wanting to try Prima Pasta for over a year. In fact, I'd heard so much about it, I mentioned it in my women's fiction novel "Friends of the Bride", currently in progress. No amount of research or number of third party opinions can beat an actual visit. Writers have to keep it real, right?  So my friends DJ and Frances with their respective husbands, Mario and Ross joined John and me for a birthday celebration/'casing the joint' adventure.
     The place as a whole is small and even further divided into a bar area and a dining area. The tables are so close together, you are almost forced to have physical contact with the strangers sitting around you.
     Lights are dim which exponentially enhances the spectacle that is the space's focal point, a lavish crystal chandelier like none I've ever seen. The walls are papered with pictures and wine bottles, and the ceiling sparkles with an eclectic mix of lighting fixtures, all holding court around the centerpiece. It's busy, it's crowded, it's dark, but it works.
     The menu is comprehensive and respectably Italian. For appetizers, we started with an Antipasto Misto and a basket of Zucchini Fritti seasoned with salt and lemon. The antipasto platter contained cold cuts, cheeses, grilled vegetables, hearts of palm and an assortment of large olives that transported me back to Tuscany.
     Our entree selections were varied and a good representation
of the menu. DJ and Ross had the Black Linguine Seafood in lobster sauce, Frances and I had the Fiocchi Rapera, tiny pasta purses stuffed with Asian pear and gourmet cheeses happily playing in truffle sauce, and dotted with crispy sprinkles of prosciutto. You see, when fiocchi is on the menu, I have to look no further. I rhapsodized so much about this dish, that the very particular Frances decided to try them. I'm happy to report that she was not disappointed, but I have to say, though, they were not the best I've ever tasted. However, I found them satisfying and would become my 'usual' were I to frequent the establishment.
     John ordered the Chicken Limone and found it unremarkable. Mario had the Veal Parmesan and ate it with gusto. Palates are like snowflakes.
     Dessert was fun. First, I was serenaded by the staff with a cheesy rendition of "Happy Birthday, Principessa", which I didn't hate, accompanied by a block of Tiramisu. Then, we proceeded to play DJ's and my favorite game, Musical Desserts. We ordered Profiteroles, pastries usually stuffed with cream and drizzled in chocolate sauce. Prima Pasta, however, stuffs them with vanilla ice cream. I prefer the classic version.
     We added ricotta cheesecake, Creme Brulee, and Tartufo, dulce de leche ice cream covered in a hardened dark chocolate. I'd never had ricotta cheesecake and I found it the perfect combination of airy and rich. I'll be looking out for more of that in the future. I love Tartufo, but somehow this one didn't satisfy. I wanted the sumptuous flavor of dulce de leche, but I had a tough time finding it. Perhaps it was overwhelmed by the dark chocolate.
     The Creme Brulee and Tiramisu were average. I will say, however, that everyone else enjoyed all the selections as they rotated around the table. I'm just too picky about my sweets, I admit.
     The restaurant punctuated our meal with complimentary shots of Sambucca, a gracious gesture indeed. It was a great evening, primarily because of the company of good friends, great conversation and endless laughter. 53 was a good year. Bring on 54!

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