The restaurant was very busy, and even with our 7:45 reservation we had to wait a few to be seated. We were immediately greeted at the door by a mature host and hostess, instantly confirming for me that we were in the right place. We sat in the foyer on a lovely retro-styled couch, with accompanying chairs nearby. We were right next to the bank vault, which I have heard houses their immense wine collection.
Our cozy table for two was very close to the live pianist who entertained the diners with love songs. Elegant decor in rich, dark colors added to the wonderful ambiance, and fall decorations were tasteful and plenteous, something that I find very enjoyable.
We ordered coffee and coke. I believe the true measure of a restaurant is its coffee. And theirs was good. Although it wasn't hot. That could just be the traveling time, and the server didn't know the trick of putting boiling water in the cup before you put the coffee in to ensure that it arrives piping hot.
We ordered the carbonara, made with thick noodles in a cream sauce with crispy pancetta and a poached egg, and the gnocci with rock shrimp and chilies in a butter cream sauce. The carbonara was wonderful, but the gnocci was the best I have tasted. It was perfectly tender. The sauce was also delicious. Simple ingredients but together they were a masterpiece.
I would have sent my regards to the chef, but our waiter was far too busy with his other tables. My coffee sat empty for quite some time, as did my husbands drink. My only complaint, besides the inattentiveness of our waiter was that our bread arrived just before our dessert. Being absolutely starved I was a bit irritable when no bread arrived.
I ordered the tiramisu for dessert, again no refill on my coffee to go with my dessert, but I guess there were other patrons on this busy night. I suspect the tiramisu was previously frozen, but it was still delicious.
Overall, I can't wait to go back. I want to try a few of the other dishes on the menu, and I suspect they change seasonally, like the pumpkin ravioli with brown butter, sage, and shaved Parmesan. I will probably take my dad there for his birthday this week and hopefully we will get to try out a different waiter.
1101 J Street, Modesto, CA 95354-0805