On Sunday, instead of watching the Super Bowl and stuffing myself with chips and guacamole (not a bad thing), I saw Little Shop Of Horrors with Helene and Nancy. Afterwords we wandered around downtown Sacramento, like an episode of Seinfeld, trying to find a place to dine. We discovered that most restaurants weren't serving dinner yet, and it would be two hours until our restaurants of choice opened for evening meals. And I was in the throes of fasting hypoglycemia, due to my clever policy of avoiding breakfast or lunch if I'm going to a restaurant for dinner. To my mind, this justifies eating like a pig at the restaurant. Kids, don't try this at home! Sadly, this system doesn't work very well for me anymore. I was famished, dizzy and not a lot of fun to be around. Nancy is a doctor and she kept admonishing me about my eating regimen. I guess this means I need to be more sensible in the way I eat?
We wound up eating at Spataro, which I give good marks for serving dinner at 4:30. All it took was two pieces of their excellent focaccia and I was able to talk coherently again. None of us had eaten at Spataro's, so we didn't know what to expect. I had high hopes because it's operated by the owners of Paragary, one of my favorite restaurants.
Walking into the restaurant, you're immediately impressed by the decor. Spataro is beautiful, very modern in feel, as if Frank Lloyd Wright designed it. I was so clueless about Spataro I didn't know it served Italian cuisine until we were given our menus. I found the number of menu choices a bit abbreviated, but they were dishes that I enjoy. Right away, I told myself not to compare it to my beloved Biba. But that's impossible, as most of the dishes at Spataro are also served at Biba.
For my appetizer I ordered meatballs with soft polenta. I'm bonkers about soft polenta and looked forward to eating this dish so much I was literally tapping my foot in anticipation. Unfortunately, the polenta was thin, watery and very disappointing. The meatballs and sauce were nice--but it's all about the polenta.
Fortunately my next dish, marinated roasted beets, with ricotta salata and shredded fennel, was wonderful. I dived into it, forgetting to take the picture until I was almost done. It was so good, it almost wiped the memory of the polenta from my mind.
I ordered free form lasagna with ragu Bolognese and bechamel sauce. It was good, but the ragu sauce lacked the richness that I expected. The pasta was freshly made and rolled very thin. And the price of the entree was reasonable.
All in all, I had mixed feelings about Spataro. Later, Bob told me that he often goes there for business lunches, and he enjoys the food very much. Hmm, well serve me bad polenta and I get testy, I guess.