Violino’s: Summertime Patio Bliss

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So, my husband and I were looking for a place to go for our anniversary dinner. We were looking for great food and a nice patio. We decided on one of our faves: Viloino’s. It’s nestled among big trees and the beautiful backdrop of High Street. And besides lots of fresh flowers, the patio has a heater, so you can stay warm if the temperature drops.
I started with a glass (okay or two) of champagne, and it was a perfect choice for a sunny night on the patio. Adrian is a fantastic and attentive manager, and if you have special requests, you should ask for him.
My husband eats like a rabbit: he likes grilled veggies more than any other appetizer or salad, and Adrian kindly accommodated that request, which is not on their menu. They also serve complimentary warm sourdough bread that is dense yet soft and absolutely delicious. You can ask for butter, but they serve it with aged balsamic vinegar and olive oil. If you prefer gluten-free bread, they have that, as well, served with a roasted red pepper dipping sauce.
I am a carnivore and will eat pretty much anything that won’t eat me first. I had tasted their rack of lamb at a wine-launch reception a few years earlier, and when I saw it in their menu, I pounced. The only change I made was to ask for their pave’ potatoes instead of the mashed because I love their tender, thin slices of potato baked in cream, butter and cheese. It sounds heavy, I know, but it’s actually a light, perfect rectangle of potato, with only a hint of cream and cheese. And nothing that we tried was over salted or seasoned. The chef really lets the freshness of the ingredients shine through. Oh, and the rack of lamb? Perfectly prepared to the medium rare I had asked for. The topping was so good you want to lick it off the meat before you eat it But don’t. You’re out. And that would mortify your mother if she caught you without your “restaurant manners”! One more thing worth mentioning: the squash purée on the side of each entree: pure heaven. Light as air, slightly sweet. Can I lick the bowl if I do it in the kitchen?
We don’t normally order dessert, but it was a special night. My very health-conscious husband ordered a selection of sorbets. I opted for their Affogato, which is simply hot espresso poured over gelato. Delicious. Then a surprise landed on our table… a dessert of warm molten lava chocolate cake, compliments of the restaurant – to celebrate our anniversary. My very healthy husband managed to help me inhale that in no time at all. I’m sure he was trying to spare my hips those few extra calories. A public service.
All in all, it was a memorable night. Fantastic food. Attentive service, without being overbearing. And fair prices. About $200, including the tip. If you haven’t been, you should definitely pay them a visit.

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