I had heard about this restaurant from friends and really wanted to try it out, but the best laid plans of mice and men… The other night I was surprised to get a suggestion to go out for dinner and why not? As fine as the food is at home, the chance to go out is just as compelling. A couple of ideas were bandied about, and I mentioned lets try someplace new and off we went. Nico & Vali is a quaint structure that gives one the impression of a little shop in Tuscany, and it is just on the edge of downtown Plymouth, which is as cute of a downtown as one would enjoy. We walked into the restaurant and were informed that there would be about a twenty minute wait, which was fine, so we got a chance to peruse the menu and the wine list, not to mention, the time to enjoy a glass of wine while we were waiting. I wasn’t surprised to see a line up to get into the restaurant, as I had heard many good compliments about the establishment. What surprised me was that there were all of these people in line to have dinner in a restaurant that was being remodeled at the same time. I mean there were huge sheets of plastic stretch across from the ceiling to the floor and from wall to wall and some tables just placed near all of the construction, and nobody was complaining. I was impressed from what I saw, and we had a chance to chat with some regulars while we were waiting, who also made my decision even better. Your Raconteur is a very quiet and unassuming person, actually I tend to be rather gregarious, especially when I have such strange requests, as in may I see the bottles of wine, so that I may photograph them. Most of the time I have to allay the concerns of the staff that I am doing it for the purpose of my Blog, and I tend to stress that it is a wine blog. I do not want anyone to think that I a critic, or that I am looking for anything free, that I just want to record the events, plus I am a lousy photographer so I can not take “food porn” pictures, actually, most of the photographs by amateurs tend to look that way, and sometimes the plate can be a turn-off to me, when I see them in social media sites, but then I digress.
When we were seated we discussed our options and decided to start off with an Antipasti plate, which was a little different in that it was more of a Charcuterie plate of classic Italian cured meats, some liver pate and some olives with eggplant, but no cheese, but it was a nice way to start the meal off. We each then had a Caesar Salad with a very subtle dressing and I had mine with black anchovy filets, which I did share with my Bride, who had originally decided that she did not want to have some on her salad. We went with a couple of classic dishes, my Bride selecting Penne pasta with an Alfredo Sauce and shrimp, while I tried the Spaghetti with Aglio e Olio and dice scallops. While I was asking about the dish and whether they could add some anchovies in my dish, one of the owners overheard my request and suggested that I should try White Anchovies in the dish for a lighter different flavor. Off course that set us off on a tangent discussing cooking styles and I found out that the owners are the children from another restaurant that we used to go to. I had to search my site on my phone, until I found my article about DePalma’s and I showed them the page, even with a photograph of the old matchbook that we had saved from the restaurant, and I think he was surprised and I hope a little impressed.
As for the wine that we were having, my Bride started with a glass of Malbec, and I looked so macho having a glass of Pinot Grigio; actually my Bride liked my wine selection better than hers and she changed over during dinner. She started off with a glass of Catena Alamos Malbec 2013 from Mendoza, Argentina. When I was doing some research I discovered that this wine is actually made for the American Market and is a different bottle of wine then the one they produce for the local market. This bottle of Malbec was a bled of Malbec, Syrah and Bonarda, while the Argentine version substitutes Cabernet Sauvignon for the Syrah. I just found that an interesting bit of information. The wine I started with and we both ended up drinking was Caposaldo Pinot Grigio Veneto IGT 2013. It was very refreshing and because it was listed as Veneto IGT, it could be labeled as Pinot Grigio. The Veneto has several famous wines like Valpolicella, Amarone, Soave and Prosecco, where as with the IGT designation you will find some wines not indicative of the area, though Pinot Grigio is. You can imagine that I even had a chance to discuss wines a few times with the owners and they are looking forward to adding more wines to the mix, after the remodeling has been completed. I know that we shall be going back there again and again, as I heard that a couple of times from my Bride as we were driving home.