Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Fornelletto Review

Fornelletto is one of our favorite restaurants at the Borgata Hotel. Specializing in Southern Italian cuisine, Chef Stephen Kalt has created an intimate dining setting that emanates a wine cellar.

From the entrance, it feels as though you're truly descending into the catacombs to dine well.

In the main dining area, you are surrounded by a myriad of wines, enclosed in walls of glass.

Your meal will start with focaccia, grissini, and olive oil.

Limonata [$12]
Vodka, muddled strawberries, fresh lemon juice

The GF went with the limonata cocktail, which was redolent with sweet strawberries and fresh citrus. Easily quaffable.

Sicilian Mojito [$12]
Blood orange juice, Bacardi rum, cane sugar, mint 

I was in the mood for some sweetness as well and opted for their take on the mojito. I enjoyed the fact that the muted sweetness was subtle and there was great herbal notes from the mint, offset by the tartness of the blood orange. 
Arancini [$12]
Sicilian rice balls, veal and prosciutto ragu, peas

The arancini were fairly standard, but well-executed. Al dente risotto was encased by a crisp exterior shell.

The ragu was nicely tart to balance the starch in the dish, with the veal and prosciutto imparting a salty savoriness to each bite. 

Squash Blossoms [$9]
Goat cheese, avocado, mint

The squash blossoms were sublime and one of our favorite bites. Crisply fried and not at all greasy upon mastication, these were explosions of tangy creaminess.

The mint was a nice touch to balance out the heft of each bite. 

Carbonara [$27]
Guanciale, cipollini onions, pecorino, black pepper, spaghetti 

The GF's carbonara was expectedly creamy, with salty hits of pecorino and bite from the black pepper. The rendered bits of guanciale imparted some heft and texture. $27 seems a bit high, but delicious nonetheless.

Porchetta [$29]
Pork belly, beets, broccoli rabe 

Knowing my penchant for all things pork belly though, I'd pay more for this than the delicious steaks at Bobby Flay Steak and certainly more than anything at the disastrous Wolfgang Puck American Grille. The outer skin was delightfully crisp and the pork within was unctuous and pure decadence. It came on top of a bed of bitter broccoli rabe, which was the perfect foil for the pork. Sweet red beets helped to temper the richness of each bite. The porchetta was a special on this particular visit and I couldn't help but let the server know it had to be a regular on the menu. 

Though I'm sure it had nothing to do with my own reco, lo and behold, we went back to Fornelletto six months later and it was on the regular menu! And yes, I ordered it again and was in heaven.

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