Basilico serves up tasteful dishes sure to please any palate. The dining room was already packed when we arrived around 7 p.m., and continued to see a steady stream of customers throughout the night. Owner Mario DeMarco greeted us at the door, as he does with all of his guests. His presence was felt throughout the evening.
We were seated at a comfortable but small table along the wall. The long dining room has booth tables along a mirrored wall, leading in to a separate square dining room. There are also several round tables to accommodate groups.
The pricey menu is enormous, making it difficult to decide where to begin. The antipasti selection alone includes 16 options, such as Tartare di Tonno ($11.95), Calamari e Vegetali Fritti ($10.95), Trio Ceviche ($10.95) and Carpaccio di Manzo ($10.95).
We started with the Salade St. Tropez ($11.95), a mixture of Maine crabmeat, shrimp, grapefruit, hearts of palm, avocado and tomatoes served over mesclun salad in a citrus Dijon vinaigrette. It is also offered with colossal crabmeat for $16.95. The waiter knew we were planning to share, so he brought the colorful salad out on two separate plates. Sharing is the way to go, as half of the salad was the perfect pre-dinner portion.
From the salad we moved on to two completely different entrees. My dad ordered the very last entrée on the menu: Gamberoni alla Mostarda. Jumbo shrimp were sautéed in a Cognac Dijon mustard sauce, served with asparagus and the most fabulous puree of butternut squash. At first wary about ordering a mustard sauce, he was pleasantly surprised. The rustic flavor complemented the shrimp.
I opted for the Fettuccine del Pirata ($20.95), with lobster, scallops and shrimps served over spinach fettucine in a tomato basil sauce. The sauce had a kick to it, adding a bit of flavor to an otherwise average dish.
Other tempting choices included Ravioli ai Porcini al Sugo ($17.95), Gnocchi a Piacere ($14.95), Ravioli al Pmodoro e Basilico ($13.95), Filetto di Vitello Marsala ($23.95), and L’Ossobuco ($28.95). These are but a handful of the many elegant dishes rounding out the menu. While some of the combinations are a bit overambitious, there are plenty of Italian favorites.
Almost no detail goes unnoticed at Basilico. Even the tea is fancy. Choose from six pyramid-shaped containers, served in a colorful ceramic teapot with a matching teabag plate and a dish of candied walnuts and apricots. The candied walnuts were the perfect encore to an excellent meal.
The only surprise came when I asked for the second half of my meal to be wrapped. For the price of the meals at Basilico, I would expect the restaurant to follow the lead of its competitors and wrap meals in an attractive manner. Instead, a brown paper bag was plopped down on my table. It was an eyesore next to the colorful, artsy plates arriving at tables all around us.
The servers are well versed in the menu and stop by the table often. The only time they were hard to track down was when we needed the check. We waited more than half-an-hour from the time we requested the check to when it finally came. It was easily the longest part of the evening.
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