Wednesday, December 2, 2009

iL Gatto, is the new Figlio

The cat, iL Gatto. The octopus, polipo. Italian, done.

I kind of like the old Figlio. Casual dining menu, with pizza, pasta and pounds of steak. il Gatto isn't very far off from Figlio's, similar menu with more concentration on seafood. Hence, the Polipo. A completely new and upscale bar setting is a plus. I didn't like the creepy guys sitting at the old Figlio's bar. An oyster bar casual setting up front, with a more formal yet low-key dining room at the back. Same layout, different wine racks. See for yourself. The wine racks that is. But honestly, you and I both know better that wine should be stored somewhere else...

Appetizer: Fritto Misto Platter
Frutti di mare, crispy vegetable with dipping sauce.
My Italian, or Latin language, is good enough to recognize the di Mare as seafood. Fried calamari, fish, shrimp and mixed vegetable, including zucchini and... Lemon (?) I thought it was a slice of fig at first. It sure looked like one: dark purple color, with visible seeds and skins. Or it could be some fried eggplant, which is always my favorite for fried vegetable/tempura. But this really took me by surprise, to a point I almost wanted to spit it out. Fried lemon... should not be allowed. At least not in a thick big round piece. I may be able to handle it if it's diced or thinly sliced or in some snack-able size. But a thick round slice of fried lemon just doesn't sound right. Pheww.... what an appetizer. Is this a new way to serve the wedge of lemon on the seafood platter?! Oh, don't tell me "that's how Italians do it!". blah. Nonetheless, the batter was decent. Fish was moist and not fishy at all, a good preparation on the simple seafood platter.

Entree: Scottish Salmon, braised leek with broccolini

Salmon looked fresh, and sure was a thick piece of it. Braised leek was a nice compliment to a salmon dish, instead of the usual garlic sauteed leek. I'm not sure if everyone is aware of it, but broccolini is actually a cross-breed of the Chinese Kai-Lan and broccoli, yet different from the Chinese cabbage Choy Sum family or aka broccoli rabe. Yea, a lot of names here, but the point is: it was good. Interesting choice of side vegetables.

Entree: Linguini Con Vogole
Clam, fresh thyme and garlic

Homemade linguini? I tasted the difference here. Good pasta. A little on the hard side, but you know it's a good difference. Not your minced clam for the popular clam sauce linguine. Unfortunately, the nice starchy linguini encountered some sandy clams. Not the best clam selection, but like I always say, this is as good as it gets in Minneapolis: miles and miles away from coastal seafood outlets. Frozen clams aren't gonna spit their sands out no more. Parsley, garlic sauce and parmesan cheese. I would like it with some more garlic butter sauce, and possibly soak the pasta in them a little longer to soften the pasta to the right degree and to pick up the flavor. This could be your missing touch here, Chef.

Dessert: Limocello Tiramisu

This wasn't really what I was expecting. White chocolate teardrop shells with sponge cake brushed/soaked in rum, layered with lemon mousse, topped with lemon zest. Sided with mint sauce and more lemon sauce. I always like the combo of white chocolate and lemon. It really brings out the right sweetness and tartness, complimenting each other. Another choice would be to drizzle the mint sauce over the cake, it would be just as good, if not unforgettable, a different level of flavor collision.

Can't say iL Gatto is much different from Figlio. Different menu of course with a seafood focus. Italian? So so. Fusion Contemporary? Yes. Hip hangout dining spot? Definitely.
Worth a second visit, and let's look at what I may like:
  • Pasta Stratocasta with guitar-cut black linguini, crab and sea urchin. Woo, how could I not try that?! 
  • Alla Toscana with warm pesto and arugula (I need to blog about how much I LOVE arugula. No kidding.)
  • Raspberry Cannoli with orange scented ricotta and orange ice cream
Oh, I'm hungry. And it's 11:36 pm on a Wednesday night. 7 more hours till breakfast. duh.


KK said...

1) vongole and parmaggiano dont match
2) any better options than salmon?
3) fried lemons????????????? that makes fried mars bar sound good...

Anonymous said...

Couldnt agree more with that, very attractive article

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