Monday, December 11, 2006
Our former roommate Andy and his fiance, Kim, were in town for our Holiday party on Friday night and were staying through Sunday to see the Temple vs. Maryland women's basketball game. Saturday night they had no plans, so Alison and I met up with them for dinner at Il Cantuccio, an Italian BYO in Northern Liberties.
To start, we got the Misto, a plate of mix Italian assorted items according to the menu. Starting to the right of the spoon, grilled asparagus, roasted potatoes, zucchini fritata, grilled green beans, tomato stuffed with peas, roasted red peppers, black olives, fresh mozzarella cheese, marinated mushrooms, bruscheta, and broccoli. The shining stars were the green beans and the fritatas. And I hate to say it, but I was terribly disappointed in the olives. For such a good overall restaurant, they could have done better than corner store black olives. A shame.
Fresh bread with pesto and some sort of red pepper spread. I'm fairly sure it's a white bean spread with the addition of red pepper for slight flavor, but more for color. Either way, the mixture of the pesto and the mystery spread on the warm crusty bread is fabulous.
Andy ordered the same thing he did last time visited this restaurant even though before ordering he swore he'd never had it before. Pictured is Andy's dinner, Toscana, homemade sausage with white beans in a red spicy sauce next to toasted bread.
And it was ironic that Kim called Andy out on his repeat order when she had lasagne on the visit as well! This was distinct in that it was bolognese lasagne and last time I believe it was without meat.
I had one of the nightly specials, Pappardelle with shrimp, asparagus and fresh crab meat, served with a brandy cream sauce. This was really delicious. Here the problem is really aesthetic, I wish they'd left the asparagus in larger pieces so they had a real presence in the dish.
Alison had the fish special, baked red snapper with arugala, served with mussels and clams in a white wine garlic sauce. So pretty and so delicious.
All around, a great meal. We had three bottles of wine between the four of us, and they were all leftover from the holiday party, so it was nice to splurge a little bit on dinner. I love Il Cantuccio, they just need better olives and I wish they fit my graduate student budget a little bit more!
701 N 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA 19123
And remember the 3 Rules for dining at Il Cantuccio
1. No cheese on seafood
2. No credit cards; cash only
3. They charge $5 to share plates
Additionally, they're not shy about hurrying you along if you haven't finished your wine by the time you've paid your check. It's a small place with maybe 8 tables, and they like to get people seated since there is absolutely no waiting area. Be prepared to make a reservation and still wait a bit.