Sunday, February 17, 2013
My husband and I delayed our Valentine's Day dinner by one day. This year my husband decided to surprise me with a mystery reservation and we went to the Aroma Osteria.
Once inside we checked our coats and were immediately shown to our table. The dining room lighting is dim to perhaps add to the atmosphere, but it was almost too dark. I quickly glance through the cocktail and wine list and decide on a Limoncello based drink.
On the table is a small dish of olive oil with both Calamatta and green olives as well as a basket of bread.
The couple at the table next to us is preparing to leave and I ask the woman what she had for dinner and whether she enjoyed it. I have done this in the past with my sons present and they were mortified. They retell the story with shock and horror. On this night, I am answered with enthusiasm that not only is everything on the menu just wonderful, but she had the fish stew and her husband enjoyed a pasta dish with broccoli rabe and sausage. Fine sounding selections.
We are given a single page listing of specials and a regular menu and decide to begin with an antipasto for two.
The plate included 2 slices of prosciutto, marinated mushrooms, baby carrots, mozzarella, eggplant, zucchini and roasted red peppers. I have to confess, this was my favorite part of the meal. While we were eating, I noticed a number of camera flashes go off throughout the dining room. I had recently read an article in the New York Times Dining section regarding the nuisance of flashes during dinner and how a number of NYC restaurants were trying to ban photography during meals. I have not been using flash photography in public for two reasons; my family complains and it washes out the final image of the food. Though it is distracting for a moment, I don't think I really mind when others use a flash. We do talk about the possibility though of restaurants offering "Flash or No Flash" areas in the same manner hosts used to ask, "Smoking or non?"
A new couple is seated next to us and I can not help but notice the gentleman was given a magnifying glass with a light to read his menu. While this is a thoughtful touch, I wonder if maybe the mood lighting isn't a bit too dark if this tool is necessary to read the choices. I also can't help but laugh when the woman takes her husband's picture while he is using the lit magnifying glass. "That's going on Facebook," we laugh.
Our main courses arrive. For him, the fish stew our first dining neighbor recommended.
The broth is flavorful, fish is firm and the large prawn was sweet and tender. The Mr. finished the stew and was watching me eat my dinner (which I always share with him anyway).
For me, a generous portion of the linguini with shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels and calamari.
"Would you care for some dessert tonight?"
Certainly. We order coffee for him and tea for me.
After looking over the dessert menu, we are also told about the evening's final course specials. I order the Limencello cake which arrives with a vanilla cream sauce, fresh raspberries and "the flower is edible," our server informs us.
Yes, I tried one of the petals. Do you know what it tasted like? A flower petal.
It was a wonderful date night. The meal, the company, the conversation, the camera flashes all made if fabulous and left us feeling Fed Well.