When you have that craving for carbs, you know that Italian food will deliver. Known for its richness and intensity, Italian cuisine has its place in everyone’s hearts. We took to Buonanotte Toronto to test drive what their kitchen has to offer, and to find out if it would really would provide us with a taste of Italy.
We were greeted by Chef Davide who obliged to an interview.
Chef David Ianacci, who boasts an impressive culinary resume, shared with us his personal background as to why he enjoys cooking Italian food and why certain dishes were selected for Buonanotte Toronto’s holiday menu.
We began the night with a round of antipasti (appetizers) that were served family style and meant to be shared. In true blogger style, before any food was allowed to be taken, cameras were taken out and the requisite photos were snapped. There is an unspoken rule that you do not take the food away from a blogger before they’ve taken the necessary photos. Being at a table surrounded by like folks was somewhat comforting in the sense that they all understood what was happening and fully supported it. If your a non-blogger and have ever had a meal with a food blogger then you’ll completely understand what we mean.
The first dish that came out was the Polipo Grigliato – grilled octopus with fried chickpeas, cherry tomato, celery and black olive pesto.
The octopus was grilled to perfection (if you’ve ever had a rubbery overcooked octopus then you’ll know this is life-changing to experience) that was salted to just the right amount. The exterior was slightly charred, although the crisp texture was a nice contrast to the delicate centre. Placed on a bed of arugula and dressed, the octopus salad was a refreshing change from your basic Caesar.
If you’ve ever had proscuitto, then you’ll know how salty it can be. The sweetness of the pickled green apple slices effectively counter balanced against the saltiness of the proscuitto. The flavors merried well on the tongue and everybody kept going back for seconds.
Duck proscuitto is significantly more tender than pork, almost to the point of it falling apart when being picked up off of the plate. It’s delicate texture causes it to almost melt on your tongue, creating a completely different experience than your typical proscuitto and cheese night with the girls. We highly recommend this dish if you ever pop into Buonanotte.
You would think that the appetizers stop here, but no, the show must go on. We were next served Polpettine – homemade meatballs with parmigiana reggiano and tomato sauce. If you’ve ever had store-bought meatballs that sit in your freezer until you’re ready to use them for your spaghetti concoction, then you’ll know how dry meatballs can become. All of that ground beef loses it’s moisture during the meatball making process, leaving behind protein, but no flavor.
These meatballs were definitely on a different level than your typical freezer pack. Although they were slathered with a tomato sauce, when cut open, they released a tiny puff of steam (a sign of freshness!) and shone bright under the restaurant lighting. Now that might seem weird to you, but the reflection is a sign of juice, meat juice. These little balls of protein were full of flavor and were tender to the bite. And even though this may not appear as impressive as the other dishes, if we had to pick one dish out of all 3 to be the best, the meatballs would be a serious contender.
Finishing up the appetizers, we moved onto an in between of sorts that didn’t quite fit into the antipasta or pasta section of the dinner. Buonanotte is well known for their pizza’s (no it’s not your typical Pizza Pizza) and did not fall short of their reputation. We were treated to 2 different styles, a red and a white. Although a personal favorite of everyone’s at our table was the red, it was difficult to dispute that the white was just as delicious.
The red was the Crudo E Mascarpone – Crushed San Marzano Tomatoes, Fior Di Latte, Mascarpone Cheese, Basil, 24 Month Aged Prosciutto Di Parma and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The mascarpone cheese crumbled in our mouths and the prosciutto was absolutely delicious. The white pizza being the P. G. F. – Sweet Gorgonzola, Roasted Leek, Champignon Mushroom, Basil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil, had a strong Gorgonzola taste. Each mouthful was flavorful with the cheese, and with slight hints of leek cutting through certain bites. Although we liked the strength of the Gorgonzola, our palettes overall preferred the subtler mascarpone.
Moving on from the antipasta was the delicious main courses. We began the meal with the Risotto del Giorno – radicchio, NDuja, and Tallegio Formaggi, that was coupled with Gnocchi Di Spinaci – homemade spinach gnocchi with gorgonzola and parmesan cream sauce finished with black truffle. The two were served table side, meaning that everyone each got a plate to themselves. That was a smart move on the restaurant because both the gnocchi and risotto were so amazing that everyone had their plates cleaned within minutes. Had it been served family style, we predict that a war worthy of 300 would have broken out.
Afterwards we were treated to a Costine Di Manzo – 72 hour sous vide beef short rib with truffled polenta and red onion jam. The meat was surprisingly juicy for a sous vide and although it was slightly short on seasoning, the wonderful texture made up for it. The polenta and red onion jam added a nice flavorful touch on the side and we found that everything on this dish paired well together.
Immediately after followed the Rustin Negaa alla Milanese – Veal T-bone with mashed potatoes, pancetta, sage and white wine sauce. At this point we were already starting to feel extremely full, but tried our best to pull through in order to make it to dessert. Although the veal may look dry, the protein easily fell apart in our mouth and was light and flavorful.
For the last carne e pesce (main), we were served the Branzino Al Limone e Capperi – seared branzino with roasted sunchoke, sauteed kale, garlic chips and lemon caper sauce. The branzino had a crispy outer coating with soft flesh that easily flaked away. The exterior was seared well so that the inside was not overcooked. At first glance the sunchoke looked like chunks of ginger (which everyone had an aversion to), but upon consumption, it’s worldly flavor merried well with the kale and branzino.
After what felt like 10 courses later, we were served a dessert platter that appeared to be fit for the gods. Scattered across a marble slab were a variety of sweets:
- Torta all olio di olive oil – olive oil cake with compressed strawberries and vanilla cream
- This cake was finished with sugar crystals on top and tasted like absolute heaven. It’s spongey centre was light, which worked well with the overall sweetness of it.
- Cannoli – sicilian cannoli with fresh ricotta and chocolate drizzle
- We could tell that the cannolis were made fresh in the kitchen since the shells were still nice and firm. The filling was not overly sweet and in ratio to the shell, it was balanced.
- Bomboloni al cioccolato – deep fried dough with chocolate sauce
- These balls are like the Kinder Surprises for adults. Upon opening one up, the chocolate drizzles out onto your plate like a little lava cake and tasted absolutely impeccable.
- Panna cotta ai frutti di bosco – mixed wild berry panna cotta with apple cider syrup
- One word: perfection.
We went home with our bellies full and thoughts of delectable food on our minds. Would we go back? Yes, and in a heart beat. The service was on point (they made sure that our glasses were never empty, though some would argue that that’s not necessarily a good thing *nudge nudge wink wink*), the food was tasty, and the quality was on par to the cost. If you’re ever in need of a fun evening out with good food (and Italian is on the mind), then make sure to stop by Buonanotte, they’ll take care of you right.
[quote_center]Are you hungry yet?[/quote_center]
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