I love pasta and Italian food. That said, upscale Italian places are not normally my thing. This is not due to any particular aversion – but it just seems that my restaurant choices are more Asian or cheaper in nature. It’s not so much budget consciousness as the endorphins associated with finding a hidden treasure of some kind. However, with Restaurant Week – some things change. Using this chance to check out a place I would not normally visit – that took us to Bibiana.
We arrived before our reservation at Bibiana, and so we had a chance to wait for our table to get set up and so I used the opportunity to get one of their specialty cocktails. The one I had contained Limoncello and another was orange flavoured – but not cloying or sweet. So indeed there was some optimism. Another good sign was the Restaurant Week Menu. While we did not have access to the entire menu, we got a pretty good selection of items for the three course meal – enough to provide evidence that Bibiana had confidence in a lot of items, enough to showcase certainly (compared for the much smaller menu at Me Jana for instance). The waiter was well informed on items and had some emphatic recommendations.
I started with the calamari. The calamari was stuffed with potato and soppressatta. So calamari, potato, cured pig? This felt like a winner – topped with a squid ink vinaigrette which delivered a smoky quality. The smoky, salty, full bodied flavor made for a great first course. For the entree I had the Bue, braised beef cheek over creamy polenta with an onion compote. This dish was absolute crack. The cheek was packed with flavor and so tender. The meat virtually fell apart it was so lovingly cooked. The polenta and onion compote gave it a steak with gravy feel but turned up several million notches.
The dessert was the only real weak part of the meal, though it certainly was not bad. I had a financier (teeny cake) with apple butter and caramel flavoring. This set up to be a sweet dish, and sweet it was. The cake was the right temperature and soaked with the flavors. If you dislike sweet stuff, this is not the dish for you. The only real criticism one can have is the cake being slightly overcooked. It was not burned, but the dessert spoon had a little bit more effort than one would hope to get through it.
Overall though, Bibiana lived up to any expectation and promise. LG got a pan roasted trout with grapefruit which was also a terrific bite. Our table also included a salami sampler which was well regarded too. This is definitely a good spot for a special occasion – very much recommended.