February 26, 2010

Dinner Together

What makes a restaurant romantic? The setting? The atmosphere? The food? Maybe these factors contribute, but I think the key element is something different – being there with the right person.

means together in Italian. The restaurant by this name in New York's Theater District has assembled all the ingredients for an intimate and romantic dining spot. The restaurant is quiet and elegant. Several of the booths are divided by curtains of long thin cords – like fringe, but not in a fairytale way. The light is dim but not too dark and there is jazz playing at a level that allows for easy conversation. The service is attentive and accommodating without being overbearing. It is a wonderful place to be together with loved ones.

My husband Jonathan and I went to Insieme for Valentine's Day dinner this year and had a wonderful time. After sitting down and settling in our waiter brought us a couple complimentary bites to start. First came little pieces of breaded fish that Jonathan enjoyed and then small cups of soup. Jonathan's cup was filled with an Italian style egg-drop soup and mine had creamy parsnip soup. (I am vegetarian and the staff was very accommodating, like with this soup.)

Next we had our appetizers – sunchoke soup and ravioli al uovo. The soup was creamy with intense flavors of Jerusalem artichokes and black truffles. Wonderful! The ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and egg yoke was also very good!

For the main course, Jonathan ordered the duck breast and I had butternut squash tortelloni with sage. The pasta – like everything I ate previously – was delicious! With our food we enjoyed a bottle of Tuscany. The wine list at Insieme is impressive – over thirty pages of great wines and commentary.

Finally, we arrived at dessert time. We both got lavender mint tea and shared the bomboloni and chocolate budino. Both were amazing! The bomboloni were served with a rich caramel sauce and were light and sweet. Served with almonds and espresso cream, the budino had intense chocolate flavor.

Jonathan and I both enjoyed everything! A perfect dinner. A perfect date. A perfect evening together – Insieme.

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