SAVORY Fettucine in a brandy cream sauce with smoked salmon and shrimp was a recent special.
Please don't read this review. Really, I'm begging you. If you do, I won't be able to get another plate of pasta at Italian Corner for the next few months. See, the place is a delicatessen and market, but it serves dinner on Saturdays from 5:30 to 8. Damn this foodie compulsion to tell anybody who'll listen about our favorite meals.
Some interesting details about the character of the place can be determined from their website. First of all, while "Italian Corner" is in a modest type, at the very top of the page "Home Made Pasta" is emblazoned large; apparently, they're all about their work. Overly modest, though — there's a picture of the chef, Massimo Dellolio, but he's not identified. Finger-snapping efficiency is indicated by a notice that you get free potato chips for every sandwich paid online. And while too many restaurant websites are left obsolete, with not even accurate hours, theirs keeps up-to-date with specials (Saturday's are made more enticing with appetizing pictures).
Since it's reservations only, we were not surprised to see elegant name cards for every party on all of the tables, attractively provided with burgundy tablecloths and matching napkins. They were serving a little more than 40 diners this evening. The dining hall is the same space that at other times has shoppers at one side strolling the four rows of stacked shelves for olive oil and boxed pastas and such while others are across the room perusing the delicatessen.
We had come here a few years ago with an out-of-state friend who was visiting again, so we brought her along. It was like taking a kid to a favorite toy store, so she was grinning happily as she described that first meal in detail. Some of the items we enjoyed then were still on the menu. The antipasto platter ($14.50 and $21.50) was memorable for such touches as having more than one kind of prosciutto and including fat white anchovies. Still on the menu are some items you don't often find, such as a popular rabbit cacciatore with polenta ($21.50) and linguini alla Bottarga with a caviar of dried tuna eggs ($25). That dish made me peruse the menu for other unusual opportunities. The pasticcio Veneziano ($16.50) would qualify: lasagna done Venice-style, with layers of béchamel sauce as well as meaty Bolognese ragu.
There were just five items under Antipasti, besides tortellini soup and the mixed green salad (both $5.95). My appetite was up for the carpaccio di bresaola ($13.50), the beef tenderloin bolstered with white truffle olive oil, arugula, and goat cheese. But my companions were not avid meat eaters, so we went for the appetizer special, insalata calamara ($13.50). Considering how large the squid were, with lengthy tentacles and lengthwise slices of the rest, they were reasonably tender, tossed with olive oil, slices of raw garlic, and a restrained touch of red pepper flakes. Thoroughly enjoyed.