For the past five years I have had the grand honor to be a part of a seven person “Commercial Real Estate Board” which is inclusive of some of the greatest friends I have met in my lengthy career in the business. As the acting Chairman and host for the most recent Board Meeting (we all take our turns choosing the restaurant and footing the bill) I selected Scusi, an Italian Restaurant in the heart to the Macalester Groveland area of St. Paul. In preparation for this dinner I met with the restaurant manager and our server, Marissa, to stage what would become one of my all-time finest dining experiences. I had spent ample time reviewing the menu online and was convinced that most every item would be a hit. My instructions to Marissa were to not bring a menu for any of us at the table but rather serve us the chef’s favorites from Antipastos and Insalata to the Pasta and Piatti. And when it came to libations Marissa narrowed it down to two red wines. Both were delicious so rather than choosing one or the other she tabled two glasses for each of us and made certain that both were never empty.
What followed next was a two and a half hour period which left us never wanting nor waiting. Antipasti included the Beef Carpaccio with capers, marjoram aioli, and EVOO; Calamari marinated and grilled with peppers and crostini; Duck Confit with mission figs, apple shallot rattafia and crostini; and Veal Meat Balls which are house made with a San Marzano sauce and parmigiano reggiano. For the Insalata course we were served a savory Caesar with grilled romaine, parmesan crisp, croutons and anchovies. The two pastas we tried were the Linguini with Clams made with Manilla clams, white wine, garlic, spinach and cream and the Veal Bolognaise Gnocchi with house-made gnocchi. Though filling up at this point with wine and food we ate Piatti’s of balsamic braised Short Ribs and Osso Buco; braised pork shank with mirepoix gravy. Lastly for our dessert, and while not always offered but available on request, was Zeppoli. It was a bowl of small round deep fried cakes covered in cinnamon and sugar, floating on a bed of house made whipped cream, then drizzled in a warm chocolate sauce. I can’t say enough about how great the service was including the pace of presentation. There’s not a thing I would do differently with this dinner and I’ve already been back since. Scusi is truly a winner and worth a visit in my opinion.
Bill’s Beverage of the Month
Yes, this is a departure from my usual hoppy favorites but it really begs attention. The Sixth Glass by Boulevard Brewing Co it’s defined as a Belgian Dark Strong Ale and is available year around and sold in a Bomber and 4-pack bottles. Check out the Sensory Profile on the Boulevard website: A brown colored, full bodied beer with a complex fruity, estery aroma, a rich, sweet, caramel malt flavor containing notes of dark fruit and a low to medium hop bitterness and flavor. Strong and delicious!