Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Local Italian

Eastside Road, April 26, 2015—
SORRY: NO PHOTO today, and that's really too bad, because this was a very attractive place for a Sunday supper, on a beautiful day, under a spreading tree just leaved out in a brilliant pale green, with five of us at table: Constant Companion to my right, Aïda beyond her, Alberto across from Aïda, Lisa to my left — I felt a proper padrone. It felt like a Sunday midday meal in a good country restaurant in Italy.

If only the dishes were as superb as the day… but that's a lot to ask. The food here is casalinga, or wants to be — home cooking, cuisine bonne femme, good solid fare expressing its locality and the centuries behind, with the accent on Carlo's holy trinity: buono, pulito, giusto : Good; Clean; Fair.

We began with a generous assortment of antipasti: pancetta; bruschetti; "Tuna of the Chianti" which is slow-braised pork cooked as canned tuna is done, a delicious thing. Mozzarella and capers. Deviled eggs. Savory cannoli in crisp pasta. Onion frittata, very nice indeed.

Others went on to fritto misto or pasta of various sorts, but I was drawn to the "beef cacciatore with olives," which turned out to be braised beef in a lightly flavored tomato-and-small-olive sauce, over nicely cooked white polenta. I liked it.

The chef here is from Tuscany; from between Lucca and the sea, I believe. His wine list is strictly very local Sonoma county and Tuscan; I wish it were a bit more extensive, but understand and approve his loyalties.

Everything is prepared carefully and to order, from well chosen local ingredients. Why does the place not jump to the top of the local list of restaurants? Well, perhaps because it wants to be just a little more than possible. On the other hand, what local restaurant is better? I'm hard pressed to say.

Vernaccia, Montauto (Tuscany), 2012: soft, sound, refreshing; Lucente (Merlot/Sangiovese blend), Montalcino, 2012 (forward, fruity, pleasant)
• Canneti Roadhouse, 6675 Front Street, Forestville; 707-887-2232
Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants

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