A Slow Dinner at Cafe Lazio

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It's not called “comfort food” for
nothing. The most recent Slow Food Saratoga Region monthly restaurant
dinner was held at what has become my favorite local restaurant (as
regular readers of my blog most likely already know) – Cafe Lazio
in Queensbury, N.Y., a marvelous location for great Italian and
Italian-American comfort food. We filled the restaurant to capacity
and were treated to family style service of Chef Adriano DiMario's
marvelous cooking.

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Chef Di Mario started us with his
house-made foccaccia with tuna and arugula. Not a complicated dish,
but so good and satisfying, this was an example of one of the best
elements of Italian cookery – keeping it simple and letting good
ingredients shine and paly well together. Sometimes simple isn't easy
– at least not easy to do very well. DiMario's deft touch with
ingredients and balance really helped this shine.

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Two pastas came next, linguine with two
different sauces. The first was a white clam sauce and the other a
deceptively simple pomodoro with pancetta. White clam sauce is one
of my favorites and DiMario makes it about as well as anyone, though
this version was not his best, perhaps having suffered somewhat from
being prepared in volume. Nevertheless, it was still quite good. The
pomodoro, though, was just superb. The tomato sauce was bright and
deep from the pancetta. I could have just eaten that and been happy.
DiMario's freshly baked Italian bread made a great mop for left-over
sauce.

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The main course was a medley of
porchetta, the best eggplant parm on the planet, wonderful roasted
potatoes, broccoli rabe and cauliflower with a bagna cauda sauce, all
delicious and satisfying with generous portions of each placed on the
tables.

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DiMario's tira misu suffered a
technical mishap, but retained it's wonderful flavor. That DiMario
could put out such wonderful food for so many at the same time in his
small kitchen, essentially by himself is a small miracle and a
testament to his skill. That he could do it for the special Slow Food
Price of $35pp (for members) inclusive of tax and gratuity makes it
that much more special.


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