Il Bistro Italiano not your grand papa’s restaurant
Don’t expect to hear Frankie Sinatra crooning “Fly Me to the Moon” over the sound system.
Or a cave-like room decorated in red and black. No dusty Chianti bottles. No made-in-New Jersey spumoni. And no tired Italian-American food that hasn’t changed since the 1950s.
Il Bistro Italiano, opened in August 1998, is an evolving innovation. The menu reeks of fresh, creative twists on traditional and contemporary Italian cuisine.
One only has to notice the ample menu items that are gluten-free, vegetarian or created using fresh Colorado-raised ingredients. Buckwheat pasta may be substituted for those who avoid gluten. Diners may choose from Olathe-raised chicken, Colorado bison and regional organic duck.
Yet, other ingredients go to the ends of the Earth: Tasmin salmon, truffle cheese from Tuscany and Israeli couscous.
Also nice, many entrees are offered in small or large portions. If you’re watching your wallet or your waistline, it’s a welcome choice.
The entrees, however, are served a la carte, so if you want salad or soup, it’s on your dime.
Our first choice, horseradish and duck salad, was not available. At our server’s suggestion, we settled on a blue cheese and walnut salad. $9.99.
The two of us shared one. To that was added pears, dried cranberries, arugula and a dash of horseradish.
It perfectly whetted the appetite for the dinner to come.
The entrees we tried get a big thumbs up.
The gorgonzola veal scaloppini was melt-in-your-mouth tender while retaining its texture and graining. The cheese sauce was creamy and piquant. The dish is served with fried polenta sticks and also is offered in piccata or marsala style. $17.99.
Il Bistro’s Parmesan-flavored version of crespelle, or stuffed crepes, was a savory mix of tastes. Tucked in the delicate folded pancakes were saut&233;ed mushrooms, rosemary ham and provolone.
It might have been a common pairing of stuffings, but for the hint of rosemary and tomato cream sauce that brought the flavors full circle. $11.99.
The multi-grain bread served to every table was good, but the plate wasn’t refreshed until we asked.
Our splurge of the evening: an after-dinner glass of port for my sister and a glass of honey-infused grappa for me. It was time to sip and talk.
We loved both. Probably verboten among true oenophiles, we traded sips back and forth.
The port, $4.99, was from the Guy Drew Vineyards, near Cortez. The honey-infused Poli Miele grappa was from Italy and, truly, one of those I would order again soon. $7.99.
Il Bistro is operated by Brunella Gualerzi, a native of the Emilia Romagna region of northern Italy, and her husband, Ronald Hall.
SPEAKING OF GRAPPA: Peach Street Distillers of Palisade has two varieties: Grappa of Gewurztraminer and Grappa of Viognier.
Both are made from the pomace of Debeque Canyon Winery, also in Palisade. The distillery is at 144 Kluge Ave., 464-1128.
A LITTLE BIRD TOLD ME: The honey from a Delta beekeeper under the label of Grand Mesa Honey is “like liquid gold,” reports a reader: 800 Leon St. in Delta. 874-3798.
SWEET TOOTH: To celebrate the 25th birthday of its popular frozen treat, Dairy Queen is introducing new Blizzard flavors beginning this month and continuing through July.
April’s new flavor is Ooey Gooey Caramel Brownie.
From April 19–25, buy one Blizzard at Dairy Queen and get a second for 25 cents.
COLORADO WINE VARIETALS:
• Merlot, 29.1 percent
• Cabernet Sauvignon, 17.1 percent
• Chardonnay, 12 percent
• Syrah, 11.2 percent
• Other, 10.9 percent
• Riesling, 7.6 percent
• Cabernet Franc, 4.8 percent
• Viognier, 3.9 percent
• Sauvignon Blanc, 1.9 percent
• Gewurztraminer, 1 percent
• Pinot Noir, 0.5 percent
Source: Colorado State University, 2007
QUOTE: “I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. I am president of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.” — Former President George H.W. Bush
Yes sir, Mr. President.
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