>> Friday, February 25, 2011
The weekend is again upon us and like all other weekends, it fills up pretty fast with dinner invitations, drinks and other activities. All of which I enjoy tremendously and look forward to each and every week, but it also lead to me wonder…who decided it was a great idea to work five days and only get two days off in a week? Seriously, who thought that it was a good bargain to not work two days out of seven. Plus, one of those days don’t really count already, since on Sunday nights I’m usually prepping and stressing about the upcoming week? All I can say is that person better have gotten quite the bribe to sign away every person’s so called weekend. But since we have to live with the general decision to work most of the week, I say we push the limits a bit and go out on Thursdays to make the week all that much more bearable and really who needs to worry when they’re tired on Fridays, you can practically countdown the hours until freedom (as I write this blog dead tired on a Friday, I’m starting to regret this suggestion, but not enough to reschedule my plans for next Thursday evening!). I guess Dolce Sapori has picked up on this tidbit as well and is open every Thursday to Sunday (only!) to cater to those that live for their weekends!
Atmosphere: A hidden spot in bustling Kensington, where modern and sleek furnishings outfit this quiet and petite dining room contrasting the lively serving area downstairs.
Price Range: Mid $20s - $30+ (Entrees)
Food and Wine: If you’re in a rush and have after dinner plans that you can’t miss, then I wouldn’t suggest dining at Dolce Sapori, where the service, like it’s Italian menu are meant to be enjoyed without haste. When we first entered Pulcinella, where Dolce Sapori resides but in the dining area upstairs, we were greeted by a slightly frazzled hostess, who was trying to serve the patrons of Pulcinella and take out diners alike. Once we were finally shown to our table upstairs, it was like walking in to an entirely different restaurant all together. You can feel the difference in the atmosphere. We were given our menu, which is very concise and divided in to appetizers, salads, first and second courses, and the waiter suggested picking a few from each to truly experience the chef’s full culinary point of view served family style.
We started with the Pears and Prociutto with a side of Whipped Goat Cheese, the plate was quite generous with the sweet pears contrasting nicely with the salty prociutto and savoury dip. I was surprised at how light the goat cheese dip was and thought it would have been a great spread on some nicely toasted bread. However, we didn’t get our bread basket at this point so I had to resolve to spreading it on the breadsticks that accompanied the dish (still yummy though). Next, we sampled the Tuna Stuffed Roasted Bell Peppers. It was agreed around the table that we’re now all going to be making this as an appetizer at home.
With the appetizers complete, our Fennel and Blood Orange salad came next, again the serving size was more then generous. The dressing of navel and blood oranges kept the salad light and citrusy. However, I did find that it was a bit blander then I anticipated and could have used a bit more contrast in flavors or additional salt.
The salt did make an appearance that night, in our main entrée of Grilled Prime Rib with Porcini Mushrooms, which was the Chef’s special of the evening and one that our waiter spoke highly of, which made it slightly disappointing when the steak came out medium well and over salted. Being a devourer of rare beef, it was very hard to for me to witness this and I moved on quickly, only to be met with the overdone Rack of Lamb. Luckily the flavourful lamb remained fairly tender under the circumstances. I believe the herbed stuffing helped in that regard and it was definitely much more palatable, sadly mister salt made a sad appearance in the sauce here as well. For our third entrée and I’d have to say my favourite, was the Veal Chop, served with a nice tomato cream sauce. The creamy sauce was able to maintain the moistness of the chop without overwhelming the dish.
My friend mentioned to me that she’s heard great things about the house made Tiramisu so we couldn’t possibly pass on dessert (who passes on dessert?!). After a quick peek at the menu we also decided on the Panna Cotta as well. I’d have to say both desserts were delicious and light, especially with the mascarpone cheese in the tiramisu, it was quite surprising that it wasn’t overpowering.
There was a good selection of both old and new world wines on the list varying in price. The waiter is also willing to pour tasters for any of the selections where they offer either glasses or half liter options. If you’re unsure of what wine to choose you can always go with the half liter option, which isn’t offered in many restaurants in Calgary, but more so a European thing. It was definitely nice to see, since this allows you to taste and share several different grape varietals throughout your meal.
My Picks: Pears and Procuitto, Tuna Stuffed Roasted Bell Peppers
Overall: It’s important to realize that our weekends are short, so it’s nice to be able to enjoy each and every moment of it. I believe that since we rush through most of our days, it’s definitely a treat to sit back and let Dolce Sapori take you on a culinary adventure. Right now, Dolce is definitely heading in the right direction, but with a few more tweaks, this place will definitely hit it spot on.
1147 Kensington Crescent NW (Upper Floor)