Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sette Bello - Arlington, Va.

Liza celebrated her 37th birthday on August 28, and unfortunately I could not celebrate with her because I had to work the Washington Redskins-New England Patriots game that night. I promised to take her out for dinner the following night, as long as she chose the restaurant.

Italian food--specifically risotto--was her craving.

Not pizza? Well, Liza has not been in the mood for pizza lately. More on her big news some other time.

We headed to Sette Bello, a fine Italian restaurant in Arlington. We have been to Sette Bello before--we had one of our first dates there--and enjoyed ourselves. It is very modern in decor, very spacious and even a little romantic. The food is consistently good.

Upon arrival, Liza and I elected to split a salad to go along with my glass of Pinot Noir and her iced tea. I ordered the Pomodorini Pizza, which has fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, arugula and shaved parmesan cheese. Liza ordered a Risotto Primavera with sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini and smoked mozzarella. Hold the zucchini, Liza asked the waitress.

Service was slow on this night, so we waited a bit.

The waitress said the pizza was a 12-incher and "perfect" for one person. I would beg to differ, but I could take the leftovers home. The presentation of the pizza was magnificent. Arugula was spread all over the pizza and contrasted with the white mozzarella and the cherry tomatoes.

This was a thin-crust pizza and it had major droop. The arugula and parmesan just dropped right off the first slice. I used my fork to hold it up and eat it.

The pizza tasted fine if you really like mozzarella cheese--it was literally caked on there. Beyond the droop, the end of the crust was nice and chewy. Unfortunately, the cherry tomatoes were a mild disappointment--they lacked the tangy tomato flavor that would have gone perfectly with the mozzarella.

Liza's risotto arrived with zucchini, but she ate it anyway. (It would have been nice if the waitress made up for her mistake with a make-good, but whatevs.) I ate it, too. This risotto was awesome. I loved the taste of the sun-dried tomatoes and the smoky flavor of the mozzarella. Four stars for the risotto!

As for the pizza, the Pomodorini was good quality, but with a little more love, it could have been better.

Gary's Rating: 3 stars