After weeks of anticipation, we finally managed to snag a Saturday night reservation to Flour, the new restaurant run by chef / owners Paul Minnilo and Chris Di Lisi (formerly of Baricelli Inn).
The restaurant is far more modern than Baricelli, with high ceilings and a somewhat angular design with plenty of space between tables.
We started with the tres formaggi ($9): a creamy goat cheese, a firm goat cheese washed in grape juice and a cow’s cheese reminiscent of Parmesan (clockwise from upper left). All were excellent, and the tanginess of the very soft goat cheese was nicely complemented by a drizzle of honey. They were all from Baricelli Cheese company.
Our only complaint at this point was that we could have used more of the excellent focaccia that came before the meal, a few more crostini and a tad more honey. As Sarah pointed out, though, better to skimp on the bread than on the cheese.
Next we had the warm asparagus and broccoli rappini salad ($9), which was also excellent. Both were nicely coated with a lemon and olive oil sauce. We were so impressed with the flavor that we gave Jonathan, who hates asparagus, a bite or two and even he admitted that it wasn’t bad. The garlic chips were tasty enough that we could have eaten a plate of them.
Next up was Jonathan’s tagliatelle with ragu alla bolegnese ($11). We sampled some of this as well, and the rich, long-simmered meat sauce was outstanding, and the pasta was nicely cooked al dente. Jonathan really enjoyed this.
For my entrée I chose the gnudi with smoked mushrooms, pancetta and taleggio fonduta ($22). I absolutely loved the dish, which was intensely flavored with garlic, toothsome pancetta, garlic, shallots and smokiness. The pasta itself, made with ricotta rather than the flour found in most gnocchi, was much ligher than typical noodles.
Sarah chose the braised veal short ribs with cannellini beans ($25), which she really enjoyed. The veal was completely tender and bathed in a ragout-like braise sauce. She described it as a perfect winter meal.
I started the meal with a cocktail containing Galliano, tequila and fresh-squeezed orange juice ($8). I hadn’t had Galliano in years and it was a tad medicinal tasting, but overall the drink was pretty decent (or at least my quick consumption would imply as much). I followed it with a draft of Thirsty Dog Old Leghumper Porter, which went well with everything we ordered. All of their drafts are local (two Great Lakes and two Thirsty Dogs).
We packed up some of dinner to go so we had room for dessert, a brownie topped with basil ice cream, chocolate pop rocks and olive oil. The brownie was rich and fudgy, and the fizzy pop rocks were a great addition. I’d like to rave about the basil ice cream (which was very good on its own), but in all honesty the traditional vanilla (even drizzled with olive oil) might have been a better counterpoint to the chocolate. Any ice cream goes well with brownie, though.
The service was excellent. Our waitress was very friendly and attentive and didn’t seem at all perturbed when we brought out a camera.
We definitely look forward to a return visit to Flour. Because we tried so many dishes, our bill added up. The prices are very reasonable, though, and next time we might just order the cheese plate and split a pizza and/or entrée.