How ’bout Lunch at il Bistro?

This was the gist of a Facebook posting from my friend Adele to my friend Becky.  Since I’m friends with both, I inserted myself into this conversation and the three of us went to lunch today at my favorite Grand Valley restaurant, il Bistro Italiano

 I love-love-love this restaurant and owners Ron and Brunella.  Brunella, the chef, is originally from Northern Italy.  The menu reflects her Northern Italian roots (often recipes her mom makes!) and her desire to provide a variety of food in regard to taste and to special diets (gluten-free, low fat, …).  Certain times of the year, Brunella’s mom is “in the house” assisting with the cooking–what a treat! 

Il Bistro is DH and my favorite “winemaker’s dinner” restaurant–the dinner specially prepared each fall with each course paired with a wine from the chosen winery. (For the past couple of years, this has been our friends, the Vogels, from Reeder Mesa Winery!)  The winemaker is in attendance, sharing the particulars of the wine, while Brunella shares her inspirations for the food paired with it.  (Look for a blog post about this fabulous dinner in September!)

Right now, Grand Junction is re-doing the downtown–tearing up roads and old pipes and such.  Unfortunately this so-called “up-lift project” is happening right outside il Bistro. 

Sidewalks are passable and the front doors are not blocked.  Inside, the restaurant is as it always is, comfortable, pleasant, with a lovely Italian vibe.  Both Ron (who is famous for his practical joking–beware!) and Brunella (sweet, welcoming) were there today.

The three of us sat down and were immediately provided with the usual yummy bread and pimento-ricotta spread that comes with every meal.  Adele requested olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as she is not a fan of the spread.  (BTW, this comes with more bread than is pictured…we were hungry!)

Next, Adele recommended we order Calamari for an appetizer.  I’m not a huge calamari fan, but Adele insisted this was different.  And it was!  Very lightly battered and fried, served with a creamy garlic-lemon sauce.  Mmmmm!  We ate it ALL! 

Next the entrees.  (Quotes are from the menu.) Adele ordered “My Mother’s Polpette–These are the meatballs I grew up with!  100% beef with parmesan cheese–served with fava beans and homemade chips.”  (Adele moved one of the chips so you could see the meatballs and fava beans.)  This is a gluten-free selection.

Becky ordered “Prosciutto E Avocado–shrimp, prosciutto di parma, avocado in a creamy white wine sauce–tossed with our spinach tagliatelle.”  It’s what she always orders. 

I ordered one of my favorites, “Gnocchi Al Funghi–an old Bistro classic: semolina gnocchi baked and served with a five-mushroom sauce.”  A vegetarian selection.  I’ve had this gnocchi paired with a Reeder Mesa Cab Franc before–perfect!!!

We ate, we laughed we chatted, and had no room for dessert (wah).  We may need to go back and JUST have dessert one of these days! 

I was a goober and didn’t read the menu today.  One of my seasonal favs, which wasn’t on the menu the last time I was there, was there!  Adele pointed it out after we had our food and were discussing Bistro favs.  Argghhhh!  Brunella tells me I need to come back within the next week or it’ll be gone ’til next fall.  “Rotollo Di Zucca–the traditional Bistro dish for fall/winter–homemade pasta rolled with pumpkin filling and served with gruyere sauce.”  Soooo yummy!

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