As the Holiday weekend approached, Grant e-mailed and asked if we were going to be in town for the weekend and might want to meet he and Marie and have dinner. We compared notes of places that neither had been, and decided on Baraonda Ristorante & Bar. The name was on my list, but I couldn’t quite place where it was until I Googled the address. It was then that I realized that this was the place just down the street from the Fox (on the same side of the road), that you can see from their parking lot. We had no issue getting a table on-line and both pulled into the parking garage they use (down 3rd Street toward Juniper) at about the same time. The restaurant covers two hours of parking fees in that deck, so don’t forget to have them validate your ticket. I don’t know if that works when there are events at the Fox as I believe the garage becomes a pay-per-event place, but that’s just a guess.
There is seating to both sides of the entrance above, with a bar and al fresco dining (along 3rd Street) to the left and a large room to the right. We were seated in the room to the right at a round table in the corner, with a great view of the room. One of things that I noticed was the wine barrel with Enotecca Carbonara written on it, recognizing the name. Looking back, this was a former sister restaurant, apparently previously located at the same address. The same owners also have Publik Draft House and Fig Jam Kitchen & Bar.
Jo started with an arugula salad, with parmigiana, caramelized shallots and pancetta in a lemon oil dressing.
She pronounced the salad as quite tasty, and I did steal some of the parmigiano and pancetta, which was good. She followed that up with one of their pizzas, a Rustica – with fontina cheese, chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic and olive oil.
The pizzas are 10 inches in diameter and she finished about 9 inches of it. I had some of the crust and edges, and the pizza was not too thin and the fontina cheese and olive oil were a nice change from a typical pizza with “red sauce”. I decided to go with two of their pastas, a housemade gigli pasta with wild boar sausage, rapini (the green stuff) and Italian cherry tomatoes.
This dish was very good, and had it been hot, it would have been excellent. The boar sausage was not overpowering and the combination of flavors was excellent. They serve this dish as both and entree and an appetizer – this was the half (appetizer) portion. The full size would have made an filling meal. I ordered the two smaller plates to get a more varied taste of the menu and the second plate was one of the daily specials – guanciale di manzo (typically pork jowls, but this was beef – guanciale is derived from guancia, Italian for cheek).
There was a question as to whether or not the guanciale would be available as it takes 90 minutes to prepare and they had only been open for 30 when we arrived, but apparently, I got some of the first off the stove. It was a very good dish and the picture above does not do it justice – the lighting was good and I used a flash, but the dish itself was just varying shades of dark.
But, according to talk from across the table, the dish of the night was their lasagna. Marie said, and I’ll paraphrase, that it was the kind of dish that you hope for when you order lasagna out, but rarely get. You’ll have to check out their blog (where they just posted their 1,000th chapter) for their review when it’s posted.
It was a good meal and a good time. And I’ll be heading back for lasagna.