I picked Acquerello based on TA reviews and a desire for an elegant dining experience for my wife's birthday. We were not disappointed! From the time we walked up to the front door to the time we got into the taxi was the best dining experience my wife and I have ever enjoyed. We have had many elegant meals in the past at locations in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York but the combination of service, food, and atmosphere left an edible mark on our memories.
As we walked up to the door it was opened for us before we could touch it and the man who welcomed us also walked us to our table and spent the next 20 minutes answering our questions about the restaurant, and what were our best choices for food and wine. He never made us feel like he had somewhere else he needed to be, he never excused himself, he never looked back to the front door. It was as if he was our own personal consultant for the evening.
We enjoyed a glass of champagne (they do not have a full bar) prior to ordering our courses and wine selection. Even though we ordered a glass of champagne and not a bottle our waiter brought the bottle out with the empty glass and presented the label to my wife for her choice and did the same for my different choice.
Next was choosing the courses. They have a 3, 4, 5, or even 6 course meal options to chose from. The menu has recommendations for each course selection but you can pick all your courses and in any order you want from any course section on the menu. Yes desert is counted as a course.
Our waiter made a few recommendations for bottles of wine that we might like after he talked about what type of style we liked (dry vs. fruit, tannins, big wines, etc). I appreciated the options which included a nice range in prices as well.( I never valued recommendations from waiters when they just picked the most expensive bottle on their wine list. )
They have a table of crystal decanters in the middle restaurant and our decanter looked like a alphorn ( think alpine horn - swiss alps) and he poured our wine through the long skinny tube. It was quite a sight and many of the other dinners enjoyed the process too.
We had the Parmesan budino with mushrooms as our 1st course. It was very good and the different flavors that you experienced were easy to distinguish. The 2nd course for me was ridged pasta with foie gras and black truffles, we split this dish instead of ordering 2 of these because it was recommended due to the richness of the dish. This was a great recommendation because it was very rich and the split made it the perfect size to experience this dish. The pasta was firm and the sauce was creamy and delicious. The 3rd course for my wife was pancetta wrapped scallops and I had the spring green garlic risotto. My wife loved her scallops, I tried them and they were perfectly cooked and so good! My risotto was good but not great, I enjoyed the garlic but I felt that it needed more salt and was a little undercooked. This is why I rated the food with a 4 instead of a 5.
Our final course was desert.
My wife chose the house gelato and I had the caramel semifreddo. Both were very good and the plate presentation was very intricate. A man that I would categorize as the maitre 'd came over with a small bottle on a plate and poured this syrupy mixture over my wife's gelato and told us it was 25 year old balsamic vinegar! This was a surprise but before we passed judgement my wife tried and it was great! Since then she has a book on balsamic vinegars that the restaurant gave her and she is now looking and getting some for our home. Yes we have had balsamic vinegar before but this was our first exposure to the high end versions that sell for over $100 for 6 oz!
Before we left my wife was also given some biscotti in a very nice box with the restaurant logo on top.
In summary here is what impressed me:
1. The service was impeccable without feeling like someone was hovering over you or just standing off to the side ready to fill your water glass. I never had to make eye contact, flag someone down, or look around for assistance. It was always there when I needed it.
2. The atmosphere was perfect, not too dark and plenty of room between tables to feel private.
3. The food was excellent, well prepared, and well presented on the plate.
4. The wine list is 45 pages (guessing) and has a wide range of selections and prices to fit your budget.
We used Open Table for our reservation and I put a note in the comments about my wife's birthday which they noticed and put Happy Birthday (wife's name) on her desert plate. They never mentioned the note or commented to us about being there to celebrate her birthday during dinner which made for a nice surprise in the end.
It cost was $150-175 for the two of us without the wine and champagne. Very reasonable.
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