Friday, March 27, 2015

Quanto Basta

Quanto Basta is the place to see and be seen in Winston-Salem. During my 90 minutes of being at QB, I had spotted 7 friends. People are clearly clamoring to get in here and see what Winston's beloved Chef Tim Grandinetti has whipped up this time (the first time it was Spring House Restaurant). I was also dying to try QB, but I honestly think I should have waited another few weeks for this place to get its sea legs. My expectations might have been a bit too high, as a few things were lackluster, but I'm eagerly looking forward to a return visit because this place has "success" written all over it.
The wooden double doors and flame-lit wall lights are incredibly chic and inviting. The scene inside is stylish and modern, however, there's not nearly enough seating. The side dining room and a few tables against the wall in the main dining room just mean a longer wait to the mobs of people lingering around the open kitchen and the bar. A request to turn down the heat was promptly acknowledged, and the replacement of a dirty fork was also immediate. I had been thirsting for a Filthy Dirty Ketel One Martini with Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives (the "Pryor," if you will), however QB didn't have its liquor license yet. I was brought 2 different wine tastings before deciding on the Pinot Noir and later the Beaujolais, aptly described as "Black Cherry Jello" on the menu.

All price points are incredibly reasonable. The Arancini di Riso is outstanding, the best appetizer you could possibly want. Three crunchy Risotto Balls are filled with Mozzarella and Prosciutto and are delicately placed on a pool of tangy, slightly creamy San Marzano Tomato Sauce. I was thankful that the inside temperature wasn't scalding - typically you find yourself waiting 10 minutes to bite into Arancini, or dealing with a burnt tongue the next day. But not here. The crunchy exterior is reminiscent of a hush puppy, and the gooeyness of the cheese reminds you of a fried mozzarella stick. Add a touch of meat, and freaking YUM.
Arancini di Riso! Love these wine glasses!
Just look at that. Are you kidding me? YUM.

Beef Short Ribs Barbaresco
Meat lovers, you'll fall hard for the Beef Short Ribs Barbaresco. This is a huge serving of incredibly tender meat - no bone, and certainly no knife required. It's succulent, it's juicy, it stands alone. It doesn't really need the slightly sweet Tomato Jam - if anything, it distracts from the unctuousness of the meat. Gnocchi Fontina are soft pillows of goodness but could definitely use a little more salt and a more flavored sauce, while Charred Carrots make you feel less guilty for being an indulgent carnivore. (I'll never complain about eating carrots in any form though.)

Eggplant Parmesan
Not strictly for vegetarians, Eggplant Parmesan with Cavatelli Pasta is a satisfying dish that you won't realize is meatless. The same crust on the Arancini surrounds thick cut slices of eggplant. More of that fabulous tomato sauce and you've got a well-rounded dish.
The disappointment.
I truly don't know what is going on with the Tagliatelle. Surely an ingredient was left out of this dish by mistake? (Salt? Cheese? Anything to give it flavor?) The thick ribbons of Tagliatelle themselves are tasty and clearly homemade, but it's as if the "Signature Ragu Bolognese" was plain ground beef or pork. There was no sauce, and unfortunately no flavor. This dish was disappointing and should be re-examined. I'd be curious to see if others have ordered it and were satisfied. The only saving grace is the yummy, warm Focaccia.

Overall, I enjoyed my evening at QB, and I enjoyed most of what I tasted. Will I return? Absolutely! But probably in a few weeks, once things have quieted down and they can focus more on the food than calming the chaotic mob of people that can't wait to get in here.

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