A little belated in posting this, but c'est la vie. It is still the month of May, and May was "V" for Supper Club...Varanese it is. I was excited to try another new place, and had heard great things, so I figured I was in for a treat.
I was right!
It was a very warm and humid May night. When I arrived, some of the ladies already had cherry blossom mint juleps, a house specialty, and fresh bruschetta was on the table (not sure if it was complementary or if someone ordered it). I decided to give the juleps a try, being a huge mint julep fan. (Some of you are cringing right now, but if you've only had them at the track, don't judge, those are premixed and terrible! But that's a whole different blog post.) I can't imagine anyone not liking Varanese's take on the classic Kentucky cocktail. Fresh, light, just a bit fruity and sweet, with a nice base of bourbon.
We all laughed and chatted for a while, enjoying the elegant yet casual ambiance of their outdoor patio. I was facing their slate wall with softly lit water cascading down and enjoying the live jazz duo who were unobtrusively playing in the background. I basked in this mellowness long enough that I needed another cocktail, and this time I went with their mojito. By FAR the best mojito I have ever had. Not overly thick or sweet, just balanced between all the flavors. A perfect accompaniment to a summer weather meal.
Complimentary breadsticks were brought to the table and enjoyed by all. A decadent mix of garlic butter and parmesan was baked into each piece, making any type of dipping sauce or spread superfluous.
ée, they all sounded amazing. I finally settled on one of the nightly specials, lightly seared Ahi tuna served on a bed of risotto, greens with roasted artichoke hearts, and heirloom tomatoes. It was a pricey meal, but when it came out, I was amazed at the portion. Had I gotten a salad, it easily could have fed me and another person. The tuna was perfectly done, the risotto creamy perfection. My only slight disappointment was the tomatoes, which essentially tasted like any hothouse tomato, not heirloom or home grown at all. But the greens were a nice mix and very lightly dressed (I discovered I REALLY don't like fennel!)
Afterwards, all of us decided to order a couple desserts and share. I chose the mocha crème brûlée and one of my friends selected the fried banana with oatmeal cookie dough ice cream. Both were absolute sinful heaven! The crème brûlée was huge, served in a latte mug, and the fried banana was a good-size portion as well. Everyone got to sample a little of each and we all loved it.
I highly recommend Varanese for a romantic dinner or just to hang out with some good friends. I'll have to convince the hubby to go soon!