Amalfi in Danville
After the big bridge game last Sunday, we went out to dinner with Mike and Linda. Mike headed us to a Greek place in Danville, without realizing that Never on Sunday applied to the restaurant, too. So we walked up the street a few doors and ended up at Locanda Ravello, a wonderful Italian place on Prospect Avenue, just a block off the main drag. You will know you are in the right place when you see a building adorned outside with a bright blue Vespa and two tiny Fiat 500’s.
The facility is quite attractive, with a large outdoor area and an indoor with so many windows and skylights you feel like you are outside. The owner/host/waiter is a handsome Italian in a killer shirt who keeps everything Italian just like in his hometown of Ravello, a tiny hilltop town between Positano and Amalfi.
Just because there is pizza on the menu doesn’t make this place an upscale Pizza Hut. Locanda Ravello serves the real thing–a thin slab of bread topped with an interesting variety of fresh veggies and meat and most likely no sweet tomato sauce. Not a ton of cheese, either. This is what you get when you order pizza in Italy, and it’s nothing like the classic American gut bomb.
My first dish was the brussels sprouts (Mike always notes that I don’t eat mushrooms but thinks it’s normal to hate the “little green things” as Dad used to call them. So I love to order them when we’re out together). Lightly sauteed brussels sprouts with cranberries (!) and guanciale, which is an Italian cured meat only an expert can tell from pancetta, Italian cured bacon, which is definitely different from American smoked bacon. I made sure to share with Linda, who never gets any brussels sprouts at home.
I then ordered the strozzapretti, pasta with sausage and peas (hold the mushrooms, of course). It was phenomenal. Fantastic. Perfectly balanced–these things are often drowned in sauce, so that you can’t really enjoy the pasta. The simplest meals are often the hardest to execute perfectly, because there is no where to hide with just a few basic ingredients. Locanda Ravello showed their expertise with this dish.
Mike’s entreé came to the table in the pan it was cooked in, or so they would have us believe. He had a plate (pan?) of linguini with clams, cherry tomatoes and white wine sauce. It looked good, it smelled good, and since Mike cleaned his plate I think it tasted great.
Linda had a lasagna that she said was very good. Lasagna isn’t photogenic.
The service was simple and professional. Nothing special to report, they just did their jobs well. Prices are what you would expect in the upscale ‘burbs.
I like this place. I like the look of it, I like the menu, and I sure like the food. What more is there?