“Life is a combination of magic and pasta,” the late Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini once said. I’m inclined to agree, particularly after my recent visit to il Giallo Osteria & Bar, run by Chef Jamie Adams and General Manager Leonardo Moura. My meal was transporting – from starters of earthy duck and rabbit meatballs nestled in a rich gravy of mushrooms and Vidalia onions, to plump agnolotti filled with rich roasted duck and nutty fontina cheese, to the heavenly pizza di fragole for dessert.
Cape Dutch is the kind of place that charms you to your very core. The menu of South African fare, while not huge, is so compelling that I was loathe to choose. Lemongrass mussels with coconut milk; Thai basil, seared scallops with cucumber noodles and quinoa tabbouleh; elk chop with spaghetti squash; and board of meats and cheeses from around the world all called my name. Lucky for me, restaurant owner Justin Anthony was on hand to offer his guidance.
With a focus on Basque cuisine, Cooks & Soldiers, the newest restaurant from Castellucci Hospitality Group, shines bright. From From vegan “tartare” to Trout Navarre (cooked on a flat-top grill with umami-laden black garlic, Iberico ham, Swiss chard, hazelnut romesco and crispy potatoes), Chef Landon Thompson’s varied menu is peppered with fresh, experimental twists that keep interest high. The wine list is glorious, heavily weighted toward those of Spanish origin.