Sunday, July 29, 2012

Italian comfort food

Gresham Street, Ashland, July 27, 2012—
THIS RESTAURANT ISN'T new; I think we've been here before; but it's off the beaten track, hiding you might say in the middle of a block behind a typical Ashland shingled bungalow, and we hadn't been here as a group, we eight Ashlanders who rent a house here every summer for a week of playgoing, eating, drinking, and generally getting on each other's nerves or not. So we walked by and took a look at the menu: "Italian comfort food," L. said, and we proposed it to the others, and dined here tonight.

It's a four-course fixed-price menu, the price varying with the secondo, and you can eat à la carte if you like. I started with a generous salad: cannelini, asparagus, peppers, marinated artichokes, zucchini slices, provolone — a typical Italian antipasto, I suppose, senza salume.

Next, simple ricotta-filled ravioli in a brown-butter sauce with crisp fried sage leaves. This is a favorite dish of mine; I love crisp fried sage leaves.

Then, arista — pork loin, roasted with garlic and salt, sliced thin, served simply. This is a classic Italian dish, and was served with no apology or explanation whatever, and it was perfect, with the requisite salt and black pepper and its own fine juices.

I passed up dessert — others said the tiramisu was very good — in favor of a grappa. I asked for a teeny glass, and that was what I got, and I was happy.
Pinot Gris, Brandborg (Umpqua Valley, Oregon), 2010: bland, professional; Gavi di Gavi, Principessa Gavia (Piemonte), 2010: good character, good acid-grape balance
Cucina Biazzi, 568 East Main Street, Ashland, Oregon; (541) 488-3739

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