This was a business trip and I dined solo at Gaetano. It is a pleasantly appointed ristorante with cloth tablecloths in the main dining room, along with a musician playing non-intrusive Spanish guitar.
The wine list is excellent with affordable bottles in many categories; however, as a solo diner, I only wanted to have wine by the glass. Although these were available, I was disappointed that only generic varieties were provided on the wine menu, i.e. merlot, riesling, cabernet, etc. with nothing to indicate origin. I opted for the generic “merlot” and it was fine.
The bread appears to be made in house, and was wonderfully chewy… and warm (a real plus). The bottles of olive oil and balsamic on each table were an added accompaniment to the great bread.
A house salad or soup is included with main courses, so I passed on having an appetizer, although the list was enticing. The salad was disappointing, except for the house made dressing (subtle, yet wonderful flavor); disappointing in that the salad consisted solely of bland greens and shaved carrots. I ordered the Spaghetti Putanesca as my main, and it was cooked perfectly al dente. The fresh tomato sauce contained olives, garlic, red pepper, capers, anchovies and fresh basil. It was deliciously picante with copious amounts of tomato, sauce and pasta.
For dessert I chose Pastatella which was described as “warm dense chocolate dessert served with vanilla ice cream & hot gran marnier sauce” (their spelling, not mine, and the “gran marnier” sauce was definitely made with some other liqueur, perhaps Cointreau). Nevertheless, it was a perfect end to the meal and the warm mystery sauce made it even better.
As for service, it could have been better. My server was extremely friendly, yet professional, and had rattled off the specials, outlining in great detail all of the many ingredients in each one. My only complaint is that I sat for incredibly long periods between courses while the server absented herself from the dining room for long periods of time.
I would have enjoyed trying some of the other items on the menu (they appeared wonderful), and will definitely sample some on my next visit to Medford and Gaetano Ristorante.
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