Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Restaurant Review: Michelangelo's (thumbs up)

Michelangelo's (Wednesday 1/11/12 @ 7pm)
5 stars = Will return & will actively encourage others to go

Mr. E had made reservations, and we were promptly seated at one of the small tables-for-two arranged along the front wall, very European-style. Our server, Tage, arrived soon thereafter for our drink orders and to bring some of the yummy house-made rosemary bread (warm!). We haven't been to Michelangelo's for at least two years or so, but we recognized Tage as well as the owner from previous visits. I always think it's impressive to see that sort of longevity in the restaurant business, especially among the waitstaff. Throughout the entire meal, Tage was attentive without being fussy and friendly without being false, and she didn't flinch even slightly when we modified our orders. No excessive waits, no rushing to finish one thing before another arrived - the pacing was perfect.

Food Quality
One of my favorite items at Michelangelo's is the grilled calamari steak (why don't more restaurants opt for this presentation instead of the usual deep-fried route?!). My memory of the calamari appetizer with polenta proved to be quite accurate, as Mr. E and I enjoyed this dish along with the house-smoked salmon bruschetta, sans cheese sauce. Since I had mentioned my garlic & onion issues to Tage, she made sure to check with the kitchen for each dish, and even came to let us know that the salmon rub has a tiny bit of dried onion in it. That amount isn't enough to set off my radar, so we could still order the dish, but I truly appreciated her conscientiousness and attention to detail.

The portions are quite large, so I decided to opt for the chicken and olives small plate as my entree while Mr. E ordered the lentil and sausage pasta special. Both were delicious and provided some leftovers for the next day. Mr. E swapped out the penne as listed in the special for the house-made tagliatelle, which was part of the other nightly special, and again the kitchen had no problem making that substitution and still delivering our dishes in a timely fashion (unlike during last week's dinner at Tuli...).

For dessert, Mr. E ordered the flourless chocolate cake, which was accompanied by gingerbread gelato. Divine. The gelato truly tasted like gingerbread, with flavors of nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon, and the cake was rich and dense. Too dense for one sitting, in fact, so about half of the cake came home with us as well.

The total for our meal of two appetizers, one small plate, one entree, one dessert, two beers, one glass of wine, and tip was $78. Keep in mind that this meal extended into the next day thanks to the leftovers, which Mr. E and I both enjoyed for dinner the next night, so that's really $78 for two total meals. Now that's what I call value!

Menu Options
Michelangelo's has expanded the menu since the last time we visited with the selection of small plates, and I really like having this option, especially since some of the yummy appetizers are quite large. The variety assures that I'll always be able to find something tasty to order, and the chef's willingness to modify dishes to meet dietary requirements moves this restaurant back to the top of our list of venues to visit frequently. Can't wait to go back soon!


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