This Wednesday, the bf and I decided to check out Giulia, award winning Chef Michael Pagliarini's first restaurant (the former chef of Via Matta). We were there for an early Valentine's Day celebration, and the warm cozy atmosphere was perfect. Upon walking in, I noticed a large table in back directly in front of the kitchen. I later learned this table can be reserved for larger groups, and doubles as a pasta making table during the day where the Chef rolls out fresh pasta by hand. As we perused the menu, several items caught our eye but we decided to go with the tasting menu; a five course "Chef's whim” for $65. Of course, we also opted for the additional wine pairings for $35. We mentioned to our sever (who as a side note was outstanding) that we had been hoping to try the carne cruda and braised veal ravioli. He conveyed this to the Chef, who gladly obliged and even through in a couple of extras so we ended up with eight dishes total.
We started with the antipasto plate, which included semolina cakes, warm olives and almonds, and crostini with white beans and braised radicchio. The semolina cakes were my favorite, and tasted very similar to polenta. I also loved the warm almonds, and the sweet flavor of the radicchio.
The second course was a burrata topped with capers and served with two accompaniments - squash and parsnip and apple and celery. I loved the texture of the burrata, smooth but not too creamy and my favorite pairing was the squash and parsnip.
The next two dishes (Carne Cruda and Whole Shrimp) came out together, and both were slightly outside my comfort zone. I hadn't realized until it was served that the ‘carne cruda’ was a steak tartare with crostini, served with pickled, roasted, and fresh onions. I've never tried steak tartare before; I just couldn't get past the idea of raw beef. We'd had a fantastic experience up until this point, and I decided if I was going to try it anywhere this would definitely be the place! I tried a tiny bit on the crostini with lots of onions, and was surprised that I didn't mind the texture. Then I tried a second more generous scoop and actually enjoyed it! The whole shrimp were served in the shell with blood orange and fennel. I also really enjoyed these, but decided I'd been brave enough for one night and didn't eat any of the heads!
The next course was the one I was most excited to try, and it definitely lived up to my expectations. I was surprised the sweetbreads were inside the ravioli, but the combination with the braised veal was excellent and really unique!
Next were our two main courses, cornish game hen with lentils and house made lamb sausage with broccoli rate, pepperonata, and gigante beans. The hen was cooked perfectly, with crisp skin and juicy white meat. The lentils were a perfect complement and added a bit of saltiness. The sausage, peppers, and broccoli rabe was reminiscent of the classic sausage and pepper dish, but lamb rather than pork gave it a little bit of character. When we commented on how delicious it was, our sever let us know it had been stuffed just hours before!
Dessert was an affogato - a dish of vanilla gelato with bits crunchy chocolate, then topped with espresso that was poured table side. I loved the flavors and presentation!
The entire meal was fantastic, and I wouldn't have changed a thing. The wine pairings selected and poured by Trevor, the General Manager were spot on and he was extremely knowledgeable about both the food and wine. I will definitely be back.