Slug: buca-di-beppo Date: 2003-06-29 Title: Buca Di Beppo layout: post

Last night Jodi and I went out to dinner at Buca Di Beppo, an incredibly popular italian restaurant in the area. Buca is famous for their "family-style" southern italian cuisine (read: "massive portions"), and 99% of their menu is made fresh daily.

The service was impeccable, and their saitsfaction guarantee a nice touch. We started by asking about their wines. Our server gave us a run-down of the various options, the offered to bring out samples of a few wines to help us make a decision. I chose a wonderful, crisp, dry Chianti, while Jodi had a sweet White San Geovesi (a bit like a White Zin).

We ordered the Buca Due (pronounced doo-ay, I think meaning "Duo") which gives you two-person servings of a baked pasta and an entree. We also decided to start with a Ceasar salad.

Turns out, Caesar salad dressing, traditionally, is made from anchovies. The server mentioned it, but we did not expect the salad to actually taste… fishy. We tried a few bites, decided it really wasn't what we wanted, and our server gladly exchanged it for a (very tasty) mixed green salad - one o fthe freshest I've ever had.

The salad was followed by fresh bread served with warm plates and bottles of olive oil and red wine vinegar - a perfect warm-up to the entr&eaigu;e.

The main dish we chose was shells stuffed with a mixture of beef, spicy italian fennel sausage, spinach, and cheese, plus chicken with lemon.

The shells were great - very spicy, moreso than we expected. A little hard to really enjoy. The chicken was good, but nothing out of the ordinary, unfortunately, and it was slightly breaded, which just didn't do much for either Jodi or I. We talked about, and decided it was more a matter of expectations than actual quality - it wasn't bad, but it really wasn't what we were looking for at the time.

Our server came around often, but not too often, and made sure we were happy with our meal. I mentioned our mild disappointment with the chicken, and she was very understanding. She left, and a few minutes later the manager ("Paisano" in BdB-speak) came out to ask about our meal. We told her how much we loved everything up to the main dish, and explained our disappointment with the chicken dish. She apologized and offered to give us desert on the house as a way of making up for the less-than-stellar main course, as well as leaving us her card for future reference. We were pleased and appreciative, all the more so when desert came.

We were given a desert menu, and chose the "Torta Doppia Cioccolato" - a head-sized peice of the most awe-inspiring chocolate cake I've ever had. In Jodi's words "I have not had chocolate cake until right now". It was… incredible. Chocolate cake layered with chocolate mousse (I think) covered with chocolate butter cream frosting and chocolote chips, drizzled with and sitting in a pool of chocolate sambuco sauce. I cannot describe the compbination of flavors, none of which was overpowering. An incredible end to a fantastic meal.

Overall, we were delighted to be able to spend a leisurely 2 hours sipping wine, talking, eating, and enjoying one another's company. What a wonderful night!