Friday, December 17, 2010


Last night, I went over to Nick's work's Christmas party, just another in the long line of them....the party was definitely more aimed at children.  They had face painting, a craft room and an animal room, lots of fun for them, but they still had plenty of drinks for the adults!  I actually attempted to go into the animal room, but had to abort mission after taking a half of a step in because I saw a HUGE boa constrictor and there is nothing I hate more than my one attempt at taking advantage of the activities ended as soon as it started.

Knowing the party was aimed at children, Nick made reservations at Sportello, a Barbara Lynch restaurant, and it totally exceeded my expectations.  The word Sportello is actually Italian for counter service, and this place it counter service at its best.  The restaurant is all open with a serpentine of white counters throughout.  So you are eating in next to people in different parties, but that is actually pretty fun.
The Space
When you sit down the menu is actually the place mat, so you can remind yourself what you ordered...which is perfect for me as I always have trouble with that, especially when the ingredients are a bit different.  The restaurant provides a really delicious sesame bread with a ricotta and olive oil and fig jam spread, great upgrade from butter.
Bread and Ricotta Spread
For appetizers I got a lamb tartare with shallot, farm egg, and artichoke that was amazing.  I have never had lamb tartare but would get it again in a heart beat.  The artichoke really set the flavors off well.
Lamb Tartare with Pita Chips
Nick got the roasted cauliflower with white anchovy, pistachio, caper, and raisin.  When it showed up the dish looked really cool because they used white and PURPLE cauliflower...I am not sure I had ever seen that (or knew about it) before.  The purple ones actually did taste the same as the white ones, and both were yummy.
Roasted Cauliflower
For the main dishes I got the potato gnocchi with a mushroom ragout, peas, and cream.  Everything was so fresh.  The gnocchi was not at all heavy like it can be, and the sauce was flavorful.  I ate and enjoyed every bite of it.
Potato Gnocchi
Nick got the trenette with braised rabbit, picholine olives, and rosemary.  I never tried rabbit before, but I tried his and it was pretty good.  Tastes like dark meat from a chicken or turkey.  So I would highly recommend it if that is your style.  In this dish though, the fresh pasta was really the stand out.  You could just taste how fresh it was.  It made you actually appreciate that it was fresh rather than just knowing its fresh and making yourself believe it really does taste different!  Does not hurt that it was all cooked to perfection. 
While Sportello does have a dessert menu, we opted out, as the cup cakes were recommended to us.  Oddly enough the restaurant has a dessert bar in it with lots of options.  You can just go in and grab some of the baked goods to go.  
Dessert Bar
We decided on a Coconut Cupcake and a Banana Nutella cupcake.  Mine, the coconut one was pretty good.  The frosting was perfect, however, the cake was not as light as I would have liked.  Nick's was good, however, rather than nutella frosting it was just chocolate, so we still are not quite sure where the nutella went!
Cupcakes To Go
For a Barbara Lynch restaurant, the price point was pretty good and as with all of her places, the food was delicious.  Great go to spot in the fort point area and worth it to make it a destination.

Sportello on Urbanspoon

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