Hell’s Kitchen Challenge #7: Restaurant Review – “Mangia Bene!”

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~Appetizers~

My party was seated very quickly and our super attentive waiter offered us impeccable service. I opted to select several appetizers, main courses, and desserts from the 48-item “taste” menu. I chose the following:

1. Creamy Polenta with Mushroom Ragout – Perfection. Smooth and creamy and the mushroom ragout has a mild spicy flavor, adding punch to this comforting dish.
*
2. Sea Scallops & Fettuccine with Bitter Rabe – The sea scallops are rich and buttery and the fettuccine was cooked to perfection. The bitter rabe is a little too pungent for my liking, but it doesn’t turn me away from this dish.
*
3. Cranberry Bean Soup – With a smooth consistency and the beautiful taste of fresh sage coming through, this dish makes me very, very happy.
*
4. Fried Lobster Tails with Chickpeas – Fried to perfection, the crunchiness surrounding the lobster tails is a welcome sensation in my mouth. Cooked with guanciale, the seductive pork flavor comes through beautifully!
*
5. Pan-roasted Quail – Cooked in an interesting wine sauce, this dish just misses having a “from the wild” taste. I would describe it as “earthy”; enjoyable, yet very different.

~Main Courses~

1. Roasted Capretto with Potatoes and Artichokes – With a flavor very close to baby lamb, this dish has a very robust and hearty flavor. Very enjoyable.

2. Grilled Sea Bass Fillet with Walnut Puree – So far, out of some astounding dishes, this is turning out to be my least favorite. Whereas the sea bass is cooked to perfection, the walnut puree’s flavor is off and the consistency is decidedly rough.

3. Pancetta-wrapped Cod Atop Roasted Figs – This is a dish that’s tasting as great as it looks. The cod is very flavorful due to the treatment of the figs. Wonderful!

4. Slow Roasted Salmon with Chive Oil – Tucking into this dish is truly a treat. The salmon is flaky, with no “fishy” taste, and the taste of chive oil makes the salmon sparkle!

5. Venison Steaks with Savoy Cabbage and Spaetzle – The vension is tender and succulent and the savoy cabbage and spaetzle harmonize so beautifully. This is a dish that you won’t want to miss!

~Desserts~

1. Tiramisu – Oh, what a delight this is! The ladyfingers in this dish have been soaked in an especially tasty espresso and layered with sweetened mascarpone. Shaved chocolate, in a beautiful swirl presentation, adorns the top of the dessert.

2.Sesame Cannoli – Such a beautiful, light touch has been given to this dish. Pure excellence!

3.Spumoni Ice Cream Terrine – And this tastes as refreshing and delightful as its name. You can never so wrong with this ice cream dessert.

Review:

Chef Batali definitely has a winner in “Mangia Bene!” and we congratulate him on adding another stellar restaurant to his empire. Five Stars!

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