Friday, June 14, 2013

Modo Mio Makes the Meal and Unibroue Brings the Brew

It came to my attention at some point in May that it had been far too long since my last meal at Modo Mio (I think I've been writing the restaurant's wrong since forever....Modomio?), which had been in December for my birthday. I don't know what happened exactly. Funds were tight. I wasn't really going to many restaurants on the whole? LW also felt that it had been too long since her last visit, so we combined forces, made a reservation and began anticipating what magic things might be in store for us. The meal began as it usually does with a little amuse bouche. This time I believe it was a fig, gorgonzola, balsamic little treat. I can't remember if I'm making up a pancetta element or not, but it might have existed.
Modo Mio, in case you didn't already know, is a restaurant where one goes for a four course meal (appetizer, pasta, entree, dessert) at a set price. You can order a la carte, but the portions and plates of each course are usually just the right size. This means that mapping out your meal necessitates tough choices. You might be drawn to three different appetizers, but you can only have for me I think I was debating the crab cake, the scallop and the pork carpaccio-ish dish. LW also was weighing her pros and cons. In the end we made our choices, but our server - one terrific lady named Marie - ended up gifting us an extra plate of magic to try....and that was sauteed escargots with capers on a crusty melty cheesy piece of bread. This was LW's first snail experience, and I think it went quite well. The snails themselves were so tender and the combination of herbs with the saltiness of the capers and the ooooooozy loveliness of the crusty cheesy (provolone?) bread all worked together in a very pleasing fashion.
The appetizer I chose was the thinly sliced pork on a small bed of arugula with dried cherries, fennel, and I think gorgonzola cheese...I meant to take a photo of the menu so I wouldn't be approximating quite so much, but alas between opening our bottle of vinho verde and agonizing over my menu choices, actually documenting what those choices were slipped my mind. What I can tell you is that this was a very nice and relatively light way to start the meal, especially given my next two courses. The vinaigrette really perked things up and the pork itself was almost dainty in its texture.
I think this photograph illustrated how we felt about our first courses. We most certainly became members of the clean plate club for this round of tasty treats.
I had another internal debate when it came to the pasta. I love what they do with the rather simple amatriciana-like preparation...thick/hollow spaghetti with a vibrant tomato sauce and pancetta and sometimes a little kick. Oh man. It's just so good. But I also eyed the ravioli they had on that particular day, which was a rich ravioli with artichokes and ricotta all sauteed in an almond butter. I shared my teetering decision with our server and she suggested branching out, and so that is what I did. The ravioli was rich and happy making. See proof below.
And then there were the main course options. I had arrived thinking that I would choose a beef option, but when we were informed that one of the specials of the night was their take on a 'surf and turf' only with soft shell crab as surf, and sweetbreads as turf, that original idea went out the window. You'll see in later posts that I was already primed for soft shells, and so this became the first fresh crab I had for the season but certainly not the last. Sauteed instead of deep fried and only very lightly (if at all) breaded, it still had a crisp note to it while better displaying the overall crabby goodness. The sweetbreads were hearty and yet creamy.

LW used her camera to take this photograph...thus the completely different color cast. This is what I look like when I'm so happy I'm almost miserable about it.
We also had the opportunity to try the asparagus with over easy egg. A nice addition for sure!
And then there was dessert and esperesso. Oh man. Dessert. This I think was a walnut/strawberry panna cotta with maybe a savory element to it. I really have to write things down. I'm the worst.
And this was sort of like a trifle with blueberries, cake, and basil. There was also tirimisu in the mix, which LW declared the best.
The meal, the service and the overall ambiance was, as it always is, just fantastic. We made temporary friends with the couple sitting next to us and discussed how much we collectively loved the place. There was a birthday, but the birthday boy or girl had requested no that was sad for me since I love singing happy birthday to strangers. But not if they don't want me to:)

I had every intention of ending my night after the meal. When something is so good, it's best to call it a day instead of trying to do more. LW, however, had plans on meeting up with Jerry the Unibroue brewer. You see, it was also Philly Beer Week and LW and Jerry usually meet up to say hey at one Unibroue event or another. Since the location for the event was pretty near my place/in my neighborhood I did make a different decision once we got out of the cab, and joined LW and Jerry to try a variety of specialty brews he'd brought with him from Canada.
It was a good night full of fanciness, new tastes and good times.

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