Another hiatus broken by the appearance of our good friend, Carla, visiting from Colorado. Life seems to be getting in the way of updating this blog, so here we are now!
With reservations at 7:45 yesterday evening, we decided to gather at a bar across the street (the infamous Tremonte). This place was packed to the brim with locals trying to make the best of the evening’s 46°F weather; it felt more like winter than spring. After some beverages and feisty attitude from the bartender (apparently there is a “pecking order” to who gets served first), we walked across the street to our final destination of the evening, Fortunato’s Italian Cuisine.
Our group already had a bit of a skewed positive opinion on the restaurant, as it had been another fantastic Italian place prior to its latest incarnation. Expectations were high as we sat down and perused the dinner and wine menus, and we were not disappointed!
Of our group of seven, we enjoyed a great selection of wines – chardonnay and sauvignon blanc for the white wine drinkers, and chianti and montepulciano for the red wine imbibers. The montepulciano went down almost too easily, and we ended up ordering a second bottle to quench our thirst.
Fortunato himself was our server, and we ordered a plethora of appetizers to satiate ourselves before the entrees: insalata caprese, insalata arugula, two burrata, polpette di carne, and polipetti affogati. Hunger consumed us so I took a quick story of the dishes before we swooped into the food.
Our entrees came about 20 minutes later, given our dining and conversation timing. Fresh pasta, seafood, and classic chicken dishes were on our minds: Norwegian salmon with sauteed spinach and a side of garlic olive oil linguine (for M), two mixed seafood cioppino (for N and me), gnocchi alla sorrentina (for A), fusilli bolognese (for C), risotto di mare (for CD), and chicken parmigiana with a side of rigatoni (for T). Eating this late in the evening meant more focus on the actual eating, less focus on the photography.
The cioppino was cooked to perfection – tender octopus, mussels, clams, shrimp, and squid in a thick, flavorful tomato broth warmed my bones on this chilly spring night.
Travis’s chicken parmigiana was lightly breaded, generously topped with marinara. The rigatoni was al dente just right, and we had a few bites to satiate the carb cravings.
Another 30 minutes later, Fortunato and his team cleared our dishes and we had the opportunity to end our meal with some sweets. Travis asked Fortunato what the most popular desserts were, to which he answered were the chocolate almond florentine cookies, chocolate mousse cake topped with raspberry sauce, and vanilla panna cotta topped with strawberry sauce and basil leaf. We ordered all three to share and were left satisfied with the delightful end to our three-course adventure.
These cookies were to die for – in addition to the hints of almond and powdered sugar, we could taste the cinnamon in each bite. This was a perfect accompaniment to Travis’s cappuccino.
Chef Fortunato demonstrated the jiggle factor of the panna cotta. If it doesn’t wiggle and jiggle just right, it hasn’t been made properly. The balance of the creamy/gelatinous texture of this dessert was a sign that it passed the jiggle test.
By the way, we brought the energy to the space, closing down the restaurant when we headed out at 10:40PM.
There will most certainly be return trips to try out their other fresh pastas and brick oven pizzas!
Fortunato’s Italian Cuisine
428 Main Street
Woburn, MA 01801
(781) 933 0408