While most of my reviews are related to my near constant travel overseas, I occasionaly write one about my neighborhood eateries. Old Town Alexandria has many, and we continue to try out each one, although it will take years to sample them all.
Geranio is close to our house, so we have been remiss in not trying it earlier. Our reluctance has always been the extremely high standards we set for Italian food, having lived in Italy from 2004-2009.
Geranio is, like virtually all Italian restaurants in the U.S., not quite fully Italian, so those expecting a meal like they might get in Parma or Bologna will be disappointed. We came with low expectations and were pleasantly surprised. The chef has taken Italian dishes and in all honesty, has come up with a sinfully delicious unique recipes that will bring us back often.
The four of us tried different dishes, and we all were reluctant to share. My open range roasted chicken on a bed of risotto with a heavenly sauce that took me back to meals in southern Tuscany almost brought tears to my eyes. The pork tenderloin was succulent, with a similar sauce, and the salmon was excellent, although I would never come here for that dish.
What I found particularly enjoyable was the starter bruschetta. There are many variations of this peasant fare, but this one was like none other that I have experienced. The crispy bread with a layer of cheese on it was very off putting. But it came with two sauces for dipping, and both were divine. When I finished the bruschetta, I told the waiter to leave the sauces. They were that luscious.
The dessert, not unlike desserts in Italy, were undistinguished. I wisely chose the berries in cream, which was a perfect ending. My wife chose the tiramisu, and while there are many variations of this Italian dessert, she placed this one way down the list of those she has sampled.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is cozy and warm, perfect for a romantic meal or a gathering of friends who wish to relax and enjoy good food in a quiet setting, the opposite of Murphy's bar across the street. If you want raucous, head over there after you meal at Geranio's.
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