John and I finally got to go on our much anticipated date. We don't manage to go and eat out a lot just the two of us, we're always so busy on the weekends and on the weekdays if we aren't busy we usually just want to go home and crash, so this was a real treat. Ok, we aren't that busy on the weekends, we tend to go out with our friends and sort of bypass any official dinner. And John has to spend time with his other great love, football, these days, so sometimes I fall to the wayside. Fortunately football season is almost over- YAY! I had been nagging him (his word) about taking me on a "real date" and he finally did. He even called the restaurant ahead of time! I was so impressed with him. We chose to go to Beretta, a restaurant that was opened this year in the Mission, and I knew that it was meant to be as soon as we arrived because we found a parking spot instantly! It was amazing (for those who don't live in San Francisco, this NEVER happens). And then we walked into the restaurant and instantly got a table (Beretta does not take reservations). I thought this was a wonderfully auspicious start. Unfortunately I have to admit that the food did not keep in line with what started out to be a very lucky evening.
John and I started our meal with the warm radicchio and escarole with pancetta tesa. I was excited for a warm salad on this very chilly evening, but felt that the Italian bitter greens were simply too bitter. Unfortunately this became what I considered the theme of the meal. I like bitter greens, I feel as though they are a very "adult" taste but one that I have gotten used to. But this salad was cringe worthy bitter.
We followed it up with the bruschetta with crescenza and broccoli rabe. Once again I was attacked with the bitter greens. Crescenza is a very soft and lovely italian like cream cheese. I actually had one bite, realized that the taste of the cheese was completely hidden by the pungent broccoli rabe flavor, and so I ate it off so I could eat the cheesy toast on its own. Sadly, I know that this was not the chef's intention, but why would you place such a strong vegetable on top of such a mild cheese? I couldn't understand it. John agreed as well. I told him to eat the broccoli rabe first and he thanked me for the tip.
Our main courses arrived shortly after and I will give a preview and say that things went up from the starters. John ordered the saffron risotto with osso buco. The risotto was cooked nicely and the osso buco was perfectly flaky and tender. I may have had a few more bites that he would have liked because of this fact. I was surprised that I liked the osso buco on top of the risotto, when he ordered it I thought it would be too rich, but the flavors were not overbearing whatsoever.
My pizza came at the same time and I was excited about the smells that were emanating from the pan. It was the Funghi misti, tomato, fontina and thyme pizza. Beretta is apparently known for their pizzas and they make up a large chunk of the menu, and I can see why. When I lived in Florence, Italy when I was in college I might say I was addicted to the fresh very thin crust pizzas that are in so many restaurants. They are meant to be eaten with a knife and fork because they tomato sauce there is very thin and liquidy, therefore the pizza cannot stand up on its own in the center. This had that sweet and light tomato sauce that I adore in Florence, and I am excited to go back and try some more of them.
I wanted to absolutely love Beretta. I was so excited about going there and I used to really like the Last Supper Club, its previous incarnation. Unfortunately some of the dishes missed for me, but I think I would be willing to give it another shot in the future. I think the heirloom tomato and pesto pizza might redeem it for me.