Dolcetto & Co. MontrealAug 19 2012 · 1 comment · Dining Out
Dolcetto & Co. can be described as a hip Italian wine bar with a tapas mentality. Located on St. Paul street in the Old Port, the place caters to a well to do mid to late twenties crowd looking for a casual chic evening out. Going for a ocean/beachy vibe as indicated in the rope and anchor ampersand part of their logo, the blue and white striped seats, the captain’s hats hanging off the hooks across the room and the bottle chandeliers, the whole place gives off a relaxed but sophisticated air.
Dolcetto throws you off your game and turns your expectations of Italian food upside down. At a typical Italian restaurant, you expect hearty portions, heavy food and lots of thick sauces and carbs. Dolcetto takes that idea and throws it out the window. Gone are the family sized plates and your usual suspects of pasta and pizza. Instead, here you get something more refined while still retaining some key elements of Italian comfort food.
Looking for a pick me up after work, I tried the Veloce, a cocktail made with Grey Goose and the sorbet of the day (choice between lychee and lemon) – I went with lemon. At this point I was surprised once again – instead of having the drink shaken up for me, this cocktail required more effort and actually got you more involved in the drink. You had to think about what you wanted to do with it. Let me explain. Coming in a glass flute, the sorbet sat on top of the vodka. A spoon was given so you were able to nibble away the sorbet as you liked. You could also stir it in by hand or even just suck it up through the straws. I tried drinking it straight and trust me, that stuff is strong. As a shot alone, you’re fine. But sipping on straight vodka is another story. I ended up waiting til the sorbet melted naturally and drank it that way. Much better.
The friend I was with that night is obsessed with ordering little snacks such as olives and a variety of nuts at bars and restaurants. No matter where we go, when I’m with her, we have to try them out. So then it was no surprise to me that we had to order the almonds with truffle oil and sea salt as well as the Dolcetto olives. Both came in pretty white dishes and were laid side by side. The almonds were thoroughly mixed in with the sea salt and bathed in truffle oil. I liked them and had no trouble popping them in but after a while, it started to get pretty strong and salty. The Dolcetto olives were a nice mixture of greens and blacks, smaller ones and larger ones. These two dishes were good overall but not something I’d jump to order again.
Then, the hot dishes started coming in. The eggplant parm was layered with slices of tomatoes, mozzarella and fontina stuffed in between. Served at a hotter than warm temperature, the cheese was nice and melty and the flavors were close to what you’d expect and more. A nice version of the classic dish, that’s for sure.
The lobster fennel cannelloni was one of the dishes I was most excited for. I had looked up the menu online before going and this one caught my eye almost immediately. Lobster…. Fennel… How could it not be good? I was not disappointed. Juicy, tender pieces of lobster paired with the anise tasting herb all wrapped up in a firm but supple (I know, this is getting out of hand) bit of pasta was just heavenly. Scraping the sides of the plate for little crystals of salt just added more depth to the flavors. Could have had another plate of this for sure.
Chunks of foie gras sat delicately on the sliced figs, spaced out evenly across the freshly baked focaccia. A sprinkling of fleur de sel finished the whole thing off nicely. The bread itself is something to talk about. Just fluffy enough, crusty enough and tasty enough, the figs added that much more intrigue and deliciousness to the dish. The foie gras was the perfect garnish to push this dish over the edge and make it something really memorable.
The pizza bianca with gorgonzola, pear and pine nuts finished us off. I can’t even.
To answer any lingering questions you may have: Did I have a good time? Was the food good overall? Is this place amazing? Yes, yes and yes.
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