The New Kid In Town

Dinner tonight at Vino, a tiny (24 seat) Italian restaurant in Lafayette, on Plaza Way near the old theater.  I’ve seen it there, and heard about it, and now we’ve finally tried it.

I think we have a new favorite place for a delicious, healthy, moderately priced meal.

:Here’s the fun part–the new kid is 78 years old. Vino is owned by Castro Ascarrunz, a half-Italian, half-Basque maestro of the kitchen who has owned 16 different restaurants in 54 years since he moved to Lafayette.  He owns the joint, he waits the tables, he sings, I think he plays the piano that’s taking up the space of another 4 seats.

Quirky is an understatement for this tiny festival of food.  Here is the list of daily specials:

Tonight's specials.

Tonight’s specials.

Castro is proud of how healthy his food is–no added fat, butter or commercial sauces.  There is no sugar in the place.  He sells wine, but no sodas or juices.  He had to brew me a glass of iced tea, there is none already made.  Good thing we keep some sweetener in Gail’s purse.

Our dinner started with the olives, dolma, white bean salad and pickled veggies Castro brought out before we even ordered, along with the warm fresh bread and a dish of olive oil.  Castro is the only waiter, and at 78 he keeps moving smoothly and economically.

We shared the bruschetta, which was excellent, then I ordered the piquillo peppers, two sweet peppers filled with a mix of goat cheese, potatoes and white beans.

Gail chose the roasted snapper from the specials, and was completely delighted with the excellent preparation and presentation.  The accompanying vegetables were so good we even finished up the string beans; she deemed the mashed spuds excellent.

I had the simplest of all dishes–pasta with olive oil and garlic.  Getting this dish right is harder than it seems, since the balance must be perfect.  Fortunately, this dish was right on the money, and I was a happy camper.

Vino is only open 4 days a week, Wednesday thru Saturday, 5 to 8:30. The weekend nights are busy and you really want to have a reservation.

This is a great little spot.  The food is good, the owner is unique, the price is right. Give it a try.

Vino Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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