We’d been meaning to try Dante for quite a while, and, as bloggers, felt like we had a bit of a gap in never having visited. An available night out with Jonathan sleeping over at his cousins’ house was a good excuse to make a reservation.

The mood at Dante is a mix of festive and refined. The lighting is just dark enough to be intimate but not “smoky bar” dark.

We started with the buffalo burrata with heirloom tomatoes. With those ingredients, you can’t really go wrong. The pesto and crispy Parmesan added a pleasantly sharp counterpoint to the rich burrata.

Our next course was the paparadelle bolognese and the black forbidden rice risotto with rock shrimp. The bolognese was excellent, meaty and clearly braised for a long time to let the flavors meld. If Jonathan were with us, he would have loved this.

The risotto was subtle but tasty. I kept trying to place the flavors–sake, maybe? a hint of ginger? Either way, it was an earthy, unique dish, distinct from the more common risotto with chicken broth and Parmesan.

We had the “pork and beans” for our main course, which they split for us (a half portion is pictured above). If I have any quip with Cleveland restaurants, it ‘s that early courses are typically more interesting than the mains. This is an exception: the perfectly cooked pork tenderloin was made rich by the bacon crust, but the dish was not heavy. The reduction was among the best I’ve ever tasted. The three bean combination was inspired and refreshing. Sarah didn’t quite finish her half because she was saving room for dessert, but I was happy to help her out.

For dessert I ordered the chocolate trio, a dense chocolate torte, fluffy chocolate mousse and chocolate hazelnut ice cream. This is just the thing to send a chocoholic straight to heaven. I couldn’t quite finish the torte, but it didn’t last long after we got home.

Sarah ordered the Affogato: smooth espresso, chocolate coffee ice cream and frosted biscotti. Sarah’s eyes lit up as soon as she got this, and the flavors were just as good as the presentation.

After our dinner, we were offered a tour of the kitchen. This seemed to be a “perk” based on our waiter’s accurately inferring, based on Sarah’s taking pictures, that our interest in the restaurant was more than casual.

(photo by Chris Mengay, courtesy of Ohio Authority)

The highlight of the tour, for Sarah at least, was Dante Boccuzzi, a guitarist as well as a chef (checks come with a guitar picks, which can be collected for discounts). Even as a straight male, I can quickly recognize men who exude a certain something. Or, as Sarah put it, he’s very easy on the eyes. A chef’s table is available, which we might book in the future. Jonathan loves watching chefs in action, so it would be a perfect family night out.

Dante on Urbanspoon

  • http://healthyfoodietravels.wordpress.com Kiri W.

    Looks like a wonderful meal! That chocolate trip would probably move me to tears of happiness…

  • http://zeldalifeatthetable.wordpress.com/ Zelda

    I won a contest they had on their blog when they first opened and never got a chance to use my gift certificate before I moved to Sweden.
    I really enjoyed your review of this place and it was great that you were offered a kitchen tour!
    It’s on my list to visit when I return to Cleveland.