Sunday, April 01, 2007

Pasta and Pastry

A reliably good Italian restaurant is a wonderful thing, especially if it isn't far away. Basilico in Millburn is just such a place, a BYO with great food and an atmosphere that looks Manhattan-style trendy, with dark red tones, wood floors, big windows out front, and high ceilings. The staff is friendly, the prices are reasonable -- if I weren't obsessed with cooking, it's the kind of place where I'd want to eat every couple weeks.

Tonight we were packing a gift certificate from my parents, so we went all out. We had a trio of ceviches and a stuffed artichoke to start, then Margy had porcini ravioli with truffle sauce and I had a special of seafood ravioli with vodka sauce, asparagus, and mushrooms. Everything was delicious, especially the ravioli. The homemade pasta was just the right thickness -- we could almost but not quite see the filling smiling through each tasty little package -- and it had been expertly cooked. We wiped our plates clean with fluffy focaccia.

But we saved room for dessert, which is essential here. Though Margy's banana tart was excellent, the apricot strudel (pictured) took first prize. I can't decide how I feel about the presentation -- gorgeous? clumsy? overwrought? -- but we didn't look at it for long. The strudel was warm, the filling was hot, the ice cream was cold. It was over before we knew it.

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