Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Ninetta's Passion Bistro

After reading Seth's review of Ninetta's, we were very curious to try it. We live just down the road from it on Union Hills, and last Friday we were looking for someplace close as we waited for some friends to come over. I suggested Ninetta's, and Tara agreed. We couldn't remember if it was at 7th Street or 7th Ave, and we missed it the first time, so after returning to 7th Street, we finally found it. We got there at around 7:30 or so, and I was able to snag a spot right in front of the door when a Tahoe left as I pulled up. We went in and were immediately greeted by a hostess who started to take us to our table. The friendly guy that Seth mentioned came over and delayed us. He asked me what happened, and it took me a second to realize he was referring to my shaved head, which nicely matched his. He assured us we were going to really enjoy the food. After he made a few more jokes, he let us go and we tried to locate the long-gone hostess waiting at our table on the other side of the restaurant. Luckily it was under one of the lights, as it was really dim. The menus looked to be homemade printouts inside a plastic cover, so I figure the menu might change on occasion. The hostess listed the specials of the day, but I can't remember what they were. The host came over and started chatting again. He took our drink order. Tara got a Coke and I decided to try the pomegranate iced tea, which sounded interesting. It turned out to be bottled Republic of Tea, so I was somewhat disappointed. The hostest appeared and clarified that Tara wanted a regular, not diet, Coke.
We looked over the menu, and a couple things jumped out at us. The Passion Ravioli, listed as a lobster ravioli with a cognac sauce, sounded good. The butternut squash ravioli also intrigued. They also listed a nightly lasagna, which you needed to ask to find out the current flavor. It was meat on our visit. Since Tara was getting the Passion Ravioli, I decided to get the lasagna. The host also told us they had "personal" pizzas as a nightly special, miming with his hands something about 6 or 7 inches in size. We decided to try the shrimp pesto one. Once everything was ordered, they brought out the tomato hummus and pita points. The hummus interesting. I'm not sure if I liked it or not. I didn't dislike it, but it was just in my taste bud purgatory zone. I did like the pita chips, and was imagining them with a bowl of hummus from The Shish Kabob House. Tara WANTED to like the hummus, but she's not a tomato fan and it just didn't do it for her.
The host came by at one point and let us know that they cook your order when you order, so it takes a little while. We'd remembered this from Seth's review, so we were fine.
The "personal" pizza made it's appearance, and it was much larger than described. It was maybe 10" or 12" by 12". It was a square pizza cut into 8 slices, each with a whole shrimp centered on it. It was really good. The crust had an almost cracker-like consistency. Very crunchy. The shrimp and pesto were done just right. Tara loved the whole pine nuts sprinkled over it. I had two slices and Tara had one. We didn't want to fill up before our main dishes arrived. So for the next 15 or 20 minutes, we had to use the buddy system to prevent each other from sneaking another piece.
Finally, our meals arrived. Tara's was a nice big square plate filled with ravioli and a white sauce . Mine was a good-sized slice of lasagna. I took a bite. The outside was only warm, but the inside was piping hot. It was a much drier lasagna that I like, meaning that there wasn't much sauce. It was slightly sweet, but I really didn't get any flavors. The meat could have been hamburger, but the host told me it was a mix of beef and veal. I guess I just prefer my lasagna spicier. It wasn't a bad one, just bland for me.
I tried a piece of the Passion Ravioli and it was really good. Kind of like lobster bisque in a ravioli. Tara tried a piece and agreed. Then she had a piece with the sauce and nearly fainted. She gave me a piece with a bit of sauce to try. It was amazing. The ravioli/sauce combination put the dish over the top. It was like a pillow of flavor that just hit every taste bud at the same time. I tried another bite, and it was still ecstasy. It was one of the top dishes I've ever had. It reminded me of my all-time favorite dish from Chamberlain's Chop House in Dallas. I had a seared tuna with a teriyaki glaze. The first bite I got only tuna, and loved it. Then I tried a piece with the accompanying glaze, and the flavor just exploded. I hadn't thought it could be better, but it was. The ravioli elicited a similar reaction. Even now, I'm all but drooling thinking about it.
We passed on dessert, as we were planning on making pazuki at home when our friends arrived. The host tried to entice us, but we were too full at that point. Service was ok, but Tara's Coke was empty for a long time before anyone offered to refill it. I had plenty of iced tea in the bottle, so it wasn't a problem.
Aside from the lasagna, we loved the food. The ravioli will lure us back no matter what, but there are other items that piqued our curiosity as well. All told, our bill came to $63. More than we had planned on spending, but well worth it to discover the Passion of the Ravioli.


Tammy said...

I hope this gets to you... I see you planned on making Pazuki at home. Do you have a favorite recipe for Pazuki? I would love to understand what it is, and how it's made. Thanks - Tammy in CA

Yankee1969 said...

It's basically mostly cooked chocolate chip cookie dough in a cake pan served with ice cream on top. I think I misspelled it. Pizzookie, aka Pizza Cookie.