For our fifth dinner of Restaurant Week, we stopped by a place on Gay Street that we’ve been wanting to visit for a while, but whose prices put it outside of our comfort zone for eating out except for a special occasion. That’s part of the beauty of Restaurant Week – getting the opportunity to try things that you normally wouldn’t. We were a bit early for our 5pm reservation (and had already found a parking space and put time on the meter until they shut off at 6pm), so we decided to hit TipTop next door for a drink during Happy Hour.
A little bit looser than when we started (and a bit less self conscious as, at least from the outside, Due Amici looks like it caters to a different crowd than we run with), we arrived for our reservation and were immediately seated. We took a look at their special Restaurant Week menu, which is set, rather than something you choose. Luckily, all three items on the menu sounded great, so we went with that.
We also each went with a glass of Moscato d’Asti, a nice sweet aperitif/dessert wine that is light and is a great palate cleanser. By the time we got the check later on, I remembered why I rarely order wine in restaurants. As is to be expected, HUGE markup on wine (Moscato d’Asti usually runs around $14.95-$19.95 per bottle retail), and our 5 oz. pours were $9 each. Our fault, though – for assuming that the wine wouldn’t have that much of a markup. Typical mistake of wine neophytes like us, I understand. The wine was quite enjoyable, though.
The bread at Due Amici is fabulous. Still hot from the oven, and served with a dish of olive oil that has sea salt sprinkled at the bottom. Just that simple act of adding sea salt makes everything so much better. I could have munched on the bread and oil all night.
The first course was a Shaved Fennel Salad with blood oranges, baby arugula, ricotta salata, pine nuts and an orange-balsamic vinaigrette. My portion of salad was a bit underdressed (actually, I didn’t detect any dressing at all, as opposed to my husband, who actually still had dressing on his plate when finished). Still, the flavors were generally good, although I assume they would have even been better with the proper dressing.
The second course was a pair of Lamb Lollipops with a kalamata and asiago arancini cake and tomato confit. My lamb was a bit overcooked as opposed to my husband’s, but it was still juicy and flavorful. The arancini had a pleasant pronounced olive flavor, and paired well with the tomato confit. We were especially impressed as this was a rather generous portion for being a “small plate”.
The winner of the night was the third course, the Lobster Gnocchi, which were potato dumplings served with lobster claw meat, asparagus, wild mushrooms, truffle butter and Pecorino Romano cheese. The gnocchi were light and fluffy, and the cream sauce they were served in was outstanding. The shaved black truffles on top just brought an already decadent dish over the top. Yum. Would happily go back and order this again in a heartbeat.
We both thought a spot of dessert was in order, so we shared an order of Zeppallis ($8), five Italian doughnuts that reminded us of beignets for some reason. They were covered in a cinnamon sugar, and served with some chocolate ganache for dipping. It was a nice change from the creme brulees and flourless chocolate cakes that have dominated the week elsewhere, and a good choice overall.
I don’t know that we would make Due Amici a place that we would frequent often (again, a little more oriented to business clients and/or trendy people, or a place to see and be seen), but the food is good enough that we would make this a once in a while special occasion destination. I’m glad we had the opportunity to be introduced via Restaurant Week, and I hope that you all take the opportunity to check them out as well.
If you’d like to go: Due Amici, 67 E. Gay Street, Columbus (Downtown), 614.224.9373