The Bruno brothers, whose mid-town restaurant San Pietro has been a huge success, also own this sensational, classic Italian restaurant in the old Coco Pazzo space on east 74th Street. The service was impeccable, and the restaurant's collection of art work is admirable by any standard short of the New York Metropolitan itself. The food was terrific in a classic Italian style. The super aromatic white truffles made an incredible combination with the sunny side up fried eggs. I never quite understood the combination of flavors and aromas found in the Vitello Tonnato, but Caravaggio's rendition was brilliant. It consisted of incredibly delicate, thin veal slices with an intense but complex tuna sauce served on top. For some reason, my mind recoils at the thought of tuna combined with veal, but this is one of those dishes that comes off fabulously well.
The terrific wines included the Beaucastel Châteauneuf du Pape Roussanne Vieilles Vignes 2009, which, as I have said before, is the finest dry white wine I have tasted in the last several years. This was my last bottle, so I will be moving on to the 2010, which is also brilliant, but not at the level of the 2009. The 1989 Beaucastel Châteauneuf du Pape from magnum was classic Beaucastel. Smoky charcuterie and game notes intermixed with notions of sweaty new saddle leather, black fruits, earth and beef blood displayed the more savage side of Mourvèdre, the varietal that dominates this blend. The 1989 is in late adolescence, yet it is capable of lasting another two decades or more. The fruitier, richer blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre, the 2007 Saint-Préfert Châteauneuf du Pape Collection Charles Giraud has been one of those rare wines where every bottle opened has been pure perfection. This was no exception. Both wines were decanted in advance of dinner. I highly recommend this restaurant and the impeccable service of the staff, led by the courtesy and graciousness of the Bruno brothers.
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Petit Louis Bistro
A lookalike, authentic French bistro, Petit Louis in Baltimore's Roland Park is the creation of restauranteurs par excellence Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman. You feel like you’ve walked into a bistro on the Left Bank of Paris when you enter Petit Louis. The food is classic bistro, and they do it well. All of the courses we had were flavorful, sometimes a trifle rustic, but delicious in their intensity. This was good comfort food prepared extremely well. The wines started with one of the major surprises for me over the last year, the 2006 sparking wine from Tony Soter in Oregon. I had this several times while I was out visiting Oregon, and I had always been impressed, but this is a 10-year-old sparking Rosé that is just sensational, and I’m talking world class—it’s that good. Something this good from France would cost at least two to three times as much, so kudos to Tony Soter. The 1995 Billaud-Simon Chablis Mont de Milieu was oxidized and undrinkable. The 1996 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos St. Urbain Rangen de Thann was sweet, and although it went well with the foie gras, it was just a little too unctuous and sweet a wine...