Saturday, February 07, 2009

Bellini's Italian Restaurant

Ok. They do not have a website, otherwise I would post it. So, I will post their information here.

It's owned by Marylena and Carlo Pisano. She mans the hostess desk and he is the chef. Very friendly, exceptional service.

They are located on El Paseo (73-111) in Palm Desert right outside of Palm Springs. From our hotel it took about 15 minutes. We got there early and were seated immediately.

The menu wasn't big but it had good coverage. There was a definitely lack of seafood which is understandable since it was Milanese style, northern Italian. They have more meats and fowl, and Joseph says a lot of game meats - pheasants, quail, etc.

Joseph started with a caprese salad that had wonderful mozzerella, soft and in the bufalo style. I had the gorgonzola salad with pears and walnuts. It was okay - I wish it had more candied almonds and the pears were fresh when I had expected braised or roasted. The gorgonzola was very fresh.

We had a bottle of Ducale Reserva Chianti, which you cannot go wrong with. Ever. Not unless the bottle is turned, on the edge or corked. And I have never had one of those with this wine. Joseph said the wine list was disappointing to him in that it wasn't extensive enough. Just about 50% Italian and 50% California and he had expected 75-80% Italian. However, what was on the list was good. Of course, Joseph is a wine guy and I am not sure that most people would have noticed or cared.

For dinner, Joseph had the homemade gnocci which was excellent - light and fluffy. In fact, the lightest and fluffiest that I've ever had. He also had a side of meatballs. I had the Veal al Funghi which had mushrooms and tomatoes in a marsala wine sauce - very different. It was accompanied by 3 perfectly cooked spears of asparagus, and some herbed mashed potatoes which was second to mine. Of course, mine is fully fatted, and therefore different. I asked for a half order of homemade spaghetti and spicy arrabiata sauce. O. M. G. It was delicious!!

For desert, we split an order or spumoni. I had a decaf coffee and Joseph had a Limoncello. Turned out that they used to make their own limoncello but they stopped because it was a lot of work and not enough people ordered it. But it was very good to Joseph. I had a taste and as always, I thought it was bitter. Palates are all different, ya know? But I will say that it was better than any of the limoncello's I've ever had. It turned out the spumoni was homemade.

The service was attentive. The owner (Marylena) had a French accent. She was raised in France bcause her Italian father was an ambassador or something stationed in France. And she has relatives in NY. She could actually be Sicilian. Lots of Sicilians in NY, if you know what I mean. Anyway, she came over several times to chat, and make sure things were good. Very personalized service.

I would recommend this restaurant. If you are expecting the traditional lasagna, and other smothered southern cuisine, go somewhere else. But if you are open and don't mind finding a small quality menu to show off some of the northern style cooking, this place is very very good.

When we come back for vacation next year, we will be putting this on our list of regular restaurants.

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