Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rimedio Prescribes Northern Italian Food with a Twist

Rimedio opened its doors to the public this weekend, with a soft opening on Friday evening and full-service brunch and dinner on Saturday. Its name in Italian means “remedy,” paying homage to the pharmacy that existed there previously and the former Rx.

The kitchen is helmed by chef Dan Freeman, who cooked up a storm in Philadelphia’s Bistro 7 in Olde City and L'Oca in Fairmount. Rimedio’s menu is Northern Italian-inspired with a modern twist: envision Smoked Maldone Sea Salt 3 Day Cured Grass Fed Organic Beef Carpaccio with wild mushroom confit and red wine vinaigrette (now that’s a mouthful) or Risotto Zafferano with butter-poached langoustines (that’s saffron risotto with buttery mini-lobsters).

The meal started with the standard bread and olive oil. While the bread was soft, its temperature (at room temperature) was not up to par. I long for the restaurants serving piping hot bread that emit a puff of steam as you tear into it… where are those places? Despite this, I was interested in how my main dish would turn out.

I elected for one of the house-made pastas: the Linguine, with house-cured pork belly, scallops, wild mushroom, and butter pan sauce. As our waiter described, the kitchen cooks the noodles al dente, then flashes them in a pan with the accompanying ingredients. When he placed the dish before me, the sumptuous aroma enveloped me. He also brought some grated parmesan cheese to accent the dish. The long strands of crimped noodles were at the right texture between hard and soft, absorbing the smooth sauce in terms of texture and flavor. The pork belly was prepared in small dime-sized bits; however, the pasta’s buttery sauce overpowered the belly’s natural unctuousness. The scallops, three to a plate and fork-tender, brought a seaside touch and became my favorite component of the plate. The dish was good, but not utterly outstanding—it seemed a bit one-note to me with the dominating power of the pan sauce.

While dessert sounded mouthwatering, my stomach had no more room; I’ll have to go back to try the Flourless Chocolate Cake embellished with anise brandy chocolate ganache, honey whipped cream, and espresso bean streusel. Their brunch menu also prompts a return visit: the Stuffed Italian bread french toast (“whipped molasses cream cheese filling, black currant maple syrup, honey walnut compound butter, and side of herbed new potato hash”) sounds positively decadent. Perhaps their sweets have more contrasting flavors.

With its attentive service and promising menu, Rimedio has great potential to be a solid neighborhood restaurant and I look forward to seeing how the place evolves in the coming months.

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