I'll just apologize now for the crappy iPhone pics, but I couldn't bring myself to use a big camera at a 6-course family style dinner at Mario Batalli's and Joe Bastianich's restaurant. But everything looked just as good as it tasted and way better than the pictures below.
We went to Mozza2Go's Mangiare in Familglia (family dining). It happens on Friday's and Saturday's and the menu changes monthly. This month was 'Seeds & Grains' and Friday night was the first serving of the dishes we ate. It's a separate room with a long table and a view of the chefs at work on the fantastic meal. Reservations are required and the menus have your name on them, kind of fun.
The first course was wheat flat bread with tabouleh, Greek yogurt cheese and a white bean hummus. The bread was wood-fired and had a generous sprinkling of salt and olive oil. The spreads were all great, but I have got to try straining some Greek yogurt into cheese, it was so good.
The next course was homemade couscous with mussels, clams and oysters in broth to spoon over. I had never tried any bivalves and was determined to give them a go. Not my favorite thing in the world, but they were good and the broth was great, but the couscous was awesome, so light and flavorful.
Up next was a faro risotto with robiola and thyme. Robiola is an Italian cheese that seemed similar to brie, but I only tasted it cooked. The risotto was creamy, but because of the faro it still had some tooth to it and I loved the thyme.
After that came a hard winter wheat garganelli (like a mini canolli shape) with a rabbit ragu. It was my first time trying rabbit as well, and though I was pretty full by this point it was another great dish.
The final savory course was a grain and greens salad with chicken 'al mattone' served with it. Chicken 'al mattone' is chicken under a brick and it was crispy, salty and fabulous. Definitely my favorite chicken preparation that I've ever tasted. And a bite of the salty chicken with the vinegary salad was a perfect combination.
For dessert there was a whole grain bread pudding with rye whiskey gelato (super boozy) and vanilla cream sauce. Then there was an assortment of goodies on the side: a sesame and pumpkin seed brittle, sunflower nut butter cookies and anise seed chocolate truffles.
The final result; a very happy birthday girl in a very 'grainy' picture (hehe).
Thanks, T, I loved my birthday present.