Super Sotto Sopra!

I’m a creature of habit, but I like to dine out at an establishment I haven’t tried before during Baltimore’s Restaurant Week.  Feeling like I needed a pasta fix and some great Italian wine, I dragged my hubbie to Sotto Sopra to see what all the hype was about.  We had checked out the menu previously and were craving the heirloom tomato and house-made Burrata appetizer and other Farm-to-table choices we’ve heard so much about.

We arrived about 15 minutes early for our reservation and were greeted warmly and directed to the bar for a cocktail until our table was ready.  The main dining area is impressive. With high ceilings, giant mirrors and lush curtains hanging from every conceivable place, it certainly seems imposing while you are hurdling through the very tight tables for two.  Once you get past the front of the restaurant, the bar area opens up a bit and there’s more room to breathe.  We sat at the bar and had two really tasty cocktails- “The Root of it all” and “Rizzuti’s Passion”.  The first cocktail blended Belvedere Ginger zest vodka, rhubarb liquor, ginger beer and lime juice and was served over ice in a large copper mug.  It was “right on time”  refreshing and balanced for these hot and humid Baltimore evenings.  The Rizzuti’s Passion was a cutti patutti little creation in a coupe glass of blood orange vodka, blood orange juice, passionfruit liquor, solerno (blood orange liquor) and lime juice.  It had a garnish of blood orange folds and had a punch of flavor while hitting the right savory notes at the end so as not to be too sweet.  Our host came to seat us and we were off!

Rizzuti’s Passion Cocktail

‘…a cutti patutti little creation in a coupe glass of blood orange vodka, blood orange juice, passionfruit liquor, solerno (blood orange liquor) and lime juice.’

Baltimore’s restaurant week offers meals for lunch and dinner, usually three courses, and most in the $35 range.  We started with the anticipated Heirloom tomato and homemade Burrata with a drizzle of Olive Oil and basil.  It’s so nice to eat a tomato that actually tastes like a tomato.  I know, revolutionary.  But with the silky house Burrata, the dish was just too good.  With every bite and little sip of our Vermentino, Italian white wine, I let out sounds I would only make at home because the cacophony of the dining room allowed me to.  Wild Salmon tartare on a spare slate plate rounded out our first course.  The dish came with fried hearts of palm cannoli and a truffle mayonnaise.  I thought it would be colder, but the unctuous flavors worked with the lighter burrata and we were content.

Pork Osso Bucco

We chose a sturdy Super Tuscan red with our entrees- Pork Ossobucco with truffled wild mushroom risotto and gremolata (parley, garlic and lemon zest) and what turned out to be the spinach and ricotta ravioli with fresh tomato sauce, not the short-braised rib ravioli we had ordered.  The sage in the dish threw me off because it was mentioned in the description of the other ravioli, but it was wonderful.  The Ossobucco was nicely seasoned and fleeing from the bone and the Arborio rice in the risotto was cooked correctly and very tasty.  The portion was enormous.  At this point we needed the XXL Uber.

Gianduja Pot du Crème

Our dessert course was Sotto Sopra’s homemade Tiramisu, which was a dream and the Gianduja Pot du Crème.  The latter was so creamy and full of rich Hazlenut notes and heavenly.  We tossed back a double espresso and we were DUN!

I can see what all the hype is about.  The food is fresh, well crafted and delicious!  Our service was not rushed, well-informed and steady.  I can’t wait for our next visit to Sotto Sopra- it was Fantastico’!