Bianco's Italian Restaurant: Great Lunch, Great Back-Story
A friend and I met for lunch at Chris Bianco's Italian Restaurant the other day and I was so pleased to find an independent serving lunch (in the summer no less!), especially when it's a restaurant wedded to local and seasonal ingredients.
Nikki Buchanan Peach, arugula and goat cheese salad at Italian Restaurant
Flooded with natural light and hung with a unique collection of art (courtesy of Bianco's dad), the room has a homey quality, the food is terrific and -- What! Ho! -- the natives are friendly. I can't wait to go back.
For starters, we were greeted warmly when we walked in, so the snooty attitude that was an issue with some customers in the past seems to have been 86'd.
And while it's true our server wasn't well versed about the wine (she got a bit mixed up and brought a red instead of the white my buddy requested), she was otherwise personable, efficient and low-key. I love low-key. Low-key is in short supply these days.
The lunch menu takes a page from Pane Bianco, featuring a daily pizza and four sandwiches as well as two antipasti and four pastas.
And of course, the house-made bread, baked by Chris' brother Marco Bianco, is simply off the charts -- its heavy, super-crunchy crust giving way to a moist interior with a lovely pull to it. It's now complimentary.
Rustic pasta e fagiole di controne with house-made orecchiette (pasta and bean soup) tastes like grandma food. If the orecchiette hadn't been slightly under-cooked, it would've been perfect ($8).
Nikki Buchanan Pasta e fagiole di contorno with orecchiette
Chef Robbie Tutlewski has put the last of Schnepf Farm's peaches into an arugula salad with Crow's Dairy goat cheese and candied pecans ($9.50). Fresh tasting and seasonal, it's a dish with "Chris Bianco" written all over it.