Monday, October 12, 2009

Pro Bono - Palo Alto, CA

Merlot and candlelight - what a lovely ambience.

I have had trouble with Italian restaurants recently. I love pasta, but lately the meals I eat at Italian restaurants have fallen flat. Paying $12.95 for a plate of spaghetti, that I could make at home for a fraction of the cost, seems absurd. However, when my coworker recently raved about Pro Bono in Palo Alto, I decided to give Italian another shot.

Two friends, AJ, and I arrived for a late dinner on a Saturday night. This small, cozy restaurant was packed at 8:00pm. The candlelight tables evoked a warm and homey feeling. We were seated fairly quickly even without a reservation. Unfortunately it took quite a while for the waiter to bring by a basket of bread. Incidentally, the waiter tried to makeup for this inconveniecnce by continuing to bring baskets of bread to our table throughout the night. While I appreciated the gesture, it was a bit of overkill.

Penne with mushrooms, arugula and tomatoes.

We ordered some merlot to start off the evening. Sometimes I love a nice mellow merlot. It goes great with pasta. AJ ordered a penne dish with mushrooms, arugula, and tomatoes. Simply prepared with a little garlic and olive oil, the dish was tasty, but nothing extraordinary.

Susan's Downfall - ravioli in a cheese and toasted almond sauce.

Being a fan of appetizers for dinner (it allows you to sample more of the menu), I order an arugula salad and Susan's downfall. Susan's Downfall is aptly named for its rich gorgonzola and toasted almond sauce. This divinely creamy sauce drowns the cheese and herb raviolis it is paired with. I love how the dish was run under the broiler before presented at the table, giving the sauce a delicious golden top.

Most of the fair is good, but not great. However, a trip to Pro Bono is worth it, if just to sample Susan's downfall.

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