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Vento


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Apparently this place is flying somewhat under the radar. The +1 and I went last night to celebrate his birthday and came away very pleased with the whole experience. The hostess was very friendly and while our server was nice, the service was pretty slow at times. That was really our only complaint (quite a lag between a couple courses). I could see it getting loud on a weekend night, but it wasn't too bad while we were there, and I like the low lighting and the ambiance in general. The bar area looked like a fun hang out as well.

As for the food, the bread basket consisted of focaccia, olive bread and sourdough, which the focaccia being our favorite. Olive oil is poured onto the bread plates when the basket arrives, which is nice, but it would've been better with a little salt and pepper or balsamic to add a bit of flavor to the oil.

For the first course I had the Grilled Octopus ($8 - Fennel, Fingerling Potatoes, Green Olive, Basil and Preserved Lemon) minus the olives. The octopus had a nice char and was very tender. The potatoes had a nice crisp to them as well. My only desire was for a little more octopus and a little less fennel and potato, but the dish was indeed good. However, the +1's starter of Grilled Jumbo Day Boat Scallops ($12 - Sautéed Snow Peas, Crispy Prosciutto and Celery Root Puree) won this round. There were two large and perfectly cooked scallops and the salty prosciutto really offset the sweet scallop nicely.

It's not listed on the menu, but you can order half portions of the pasta, either to be had as a starter or you can order two halves to make a combo entree. For our second course we each chose a half order of pasta and for both of us this was our favorite course of the night. The half orders were really quite generous too...I'm not sure I could've eaten a full portion of either of our pastas since they were so rich! I had the Hand-rolled Potato Gnocchi ($8.50 - Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce with Par Baked Bosc Pear and Crushed Pistachios). I didn't get much of the pistachio flavor, but the gnocchi were incredibly pillowy and soft and the sauce was so creamy. The sweet pear with the bite of the gorgonzola was such an interesting pairing. The +1 had Saffron Fettuccine ($8 - Shiitake Mushrooms, Smoked Diced Duck Breast, Shallots and a Brandy Cream), which was light on the duck, but so flavorful.

Our entrees were good, but not great (although very artfully presented). I think in the future we'd stick to starters and pasta. I had the Grilled Whole Dourado ($22 - Sautéed Snow Peas and Shallots with Local Mushrooms and a Fennel Puree). The fish was served whole, but deboned and was very flaky and tender. The snow pea shoots were very good in the puree, but the mushrooms, which I was very much looking forward to, were overly salty. My +1 and I both love salt, so for us to say that is quite a comment. The +1 had Strip Steak ($22 - seasoned with Cracked Black Pepper and Sea Salt, served with Roasted Red Potatoes, Marinated Tomato and Baby Arugula) which was ok, but not very interesting.

We were pretty stuffed, but since we were celebrating a birthday we decided to share Apple Skillet Cake ($9 - Hazelnut Gelato and Cinnamon Sauce) for dessert. Not life changing, but a good dessert (the cinnamon sauce may have been the best part). I will say the servings of tiramisu brought to neighboring tables were enormous, so be forewarned!

I'm definitely looking forward to going back to Vento some time in the near future, and I'm especially happy about the menu's price point. No entrees were over $23, and all of the serving sizes were quite generous for the price. We probably over-ordered and stuffed ourselves on this first trip because we wanted to try a lot of things, but we'd be happy to go back and sample some new stuff in the future.

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