Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ciao Bella - Memphis, TN

Ciao Bella, has quickly become our go to for everything Italian. They are Project Green Fork, certified and using local ingredients from our local farms, which makes all the difference, as you well know.  In the past, we tend to find a quiet corner in the bar & settle in for an evening.  But this time we decided to get the full dining experience, which only made us fall more in love.    

Executive Chef, Jonathan Steenerson, has been in the kitchen since he was 14 yrs old.  Learning from his father & grandfather. He has even had the honor of cooking for Paula Deen & her husband. And we (hubby & I) were honored to have him cook for us.  We gave him free reign to bring out whatever he wanted.  No menus ever touch our hands.  So, everything that came out, was a complete surprise (and Chef came out, each time to explain each dish) & it was all beyond our greatest expectations.  He brought out things that we might not have even thought about ordering but they were all things he loves to create (and eat) & that's what made this evening so special.  Let the food begin!! 


Octopus Carpacio

Thinly sliced bed of Octopus, topped with salty/vinegar combination from the capers, this dish is light but packed with buttery lemon goodness.  



Chopped Salad

Fresh romaine lettuce, basil, diced tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions,  kalamata olives, mozzarella (just to name a few) & then lightly tossed in house champagne vinaigrette...this is the way salad should be.  You get a mouth of flavors in every bite...hmmm, so good. 


Kobe Beef Brisket Gnocchi

Even as a (recent) vegetation, I tossed it all out for this & I can say it was all worth it.  This is a classic steak & potatoes taking to the next level.  Slow-braised beef brisket, sitting on top of parmesan gnocchi topped with fresh basil & pine nuts.


Old World Chicken Carbonara

Homemade bucatini pasta (which is twice as thick as a regular spaghetti & absolutely cooked to perfection), salty pancetta, fresh basil all tossed in a this luscious cream sauce & topped with a soft fried egg.  The thrill I got from poking that yoke & then stirring it onto the dish, is like the rush you get from riding a roller coaster & going upside down...yep, it's that good. 


Chicken Skewers with Orzo & Spanakopita

Chicken Skewers, breaded & fried, almost like a southern fried chicken, sitting on top of tangy orzo pasta & adorned with the best homemade Spanakopita, in town.   



Watermelon Gelato

Watermelon, a summer favorite, turned into this creamy dessert that just melts in your mouth.   You can't feel guilty eating this for dessert, it's fruit!!  We could even taste the rind, it was that fresh. 



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