Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Restaurant Week at C19

When one of my friends made a reservation for Restaurant Week, she only had to say the words "Italian food" before I eagerly agreed to go. On a cold Sunday night, we hopped in a cab and headed to Rittenhouse Square, where C19 awaited us with open arms. The friendly man who greeted us, we soon learned, was the chef. Once we sat down at our table and were perusing the set menus, he came over to tell us a little bit about C19's philosophy. In short, C19 makes every effort to locally source ingredients, and even had a list of some of the farms they buy from on the back of the regular menu (one of which is run/owned by the restaurant). They also do cooking demonstrations at the farmer's market in Rittenhouse Square to demonstrate how what is currently being sold can be prepared to create tasty dishes. Needless to say, we were excited to try some of their offerings.

C19 offered four courses on their Restaurant Week menu, with the first being a seven green salad with pickled vegetables and roasted almonds. The almonds added a delicious saltiness to the salad and the dressing was extremely light- I didn't notice it while eating but I didn't notice an absence of dressing either. We all were so anxious to eat our salads that I forgot to take a picture until most of them were half eaten. They also served us toasty bread with olive oil drizzled on it, which complemented the salad nicely.

For the second course, I had a PorcSalt Applewood Smoked Bacon Soup. I was expecting something of the creamy or pureed variety, but was pleasantly surprised by what was brought out instead. The broth was light but flavorful, and bits of bacon, peas, and rice all swam in the tasty liquid. I also tried a bite of my friend's fluke ceviche appetizer, but my personal aversion to fish influenced my opinion too much to pass any kind of fair judgment. Everyone else, however, agreed that it was delicious.

As an entree, I had the Mirella Gnocchi. This was by far my favorite dish of the night, and I would highly recommend it to anyone heading to C19. The gnocchi was great in typical doughy-gnocchi fashion but what really stood out was the wild boar that coated it. The bite-size pieces of boar were falling apart tender and moist, in a luxurious sauce that coated the gnocchi without being too heavy. The portion was also a great size- afterwards, I was satisfied but not bursting at the seams.

Last but certainly not least came our dessert course. I had the Nutella Budino, a kind of light Nutella mousse/pudding topped with several ripe strawberries. The pudding was airy and tasty, but more than I could finish after the previous three courses. The other dessert offering, a "tiramisu de mamma," received high praise from my tiramisu-obsessed friends.

Between the attentive and friendly staff and the awesome food, I had a wonderful experience at C19. It was especially encouraging to see food that was so ethically and locally produced be delicious as well, and I hope to venture over to C19's tent at the Rittenhouse Farmers Market sometime soon to see their culinary magic in action.

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