Here is the thing with birthdays. They are derailing. Hear me out. You just got yourself into this nice routine, or diet, and then the birthday rolls around and suddenly you must abandon everything for the calendar.

Am I complaining? No, I got spoiled with three birthday dinners this year. I guess 22 isn’t about lavish parties anymore. And while I wanted to be present throughout the evenings, I couldn’t resist the temptation to steal a picture or two lest I decide to do a restaurant review later. Especially for the third dinner at Solo Italiano. Lord knows I can’t necessarily deduct that from my taxes, meaning this would probably be my only chance at a review for a while

So how was it you don’t ask? Well, for starters, the menu changes every night. And because I wasn’t too sure that I would be reviewing the restaurant, I didn’t take note of the dishes’ names. Therefore, today’s review will be more detailed as I explain the flavors instead of the meal.

For actual starters I had crudo. Raw fish. I got the special which was scallops.

By golly the flavors and textures in this dish were a symphony. In the first bite, I got the subtle scallop with a discernible lemon flavor. In the second, a nutty crumble and added crunch from the leafy greens.  The root puree could have been smoother but its subtle flavor was enhanced by the truffle shavings. All in all, I had a nice waltz with the dish.

Next was the maialino (pork) shoulder with a creamy white wine sauce. I wasn’t a fan of the texture. Then again, that could be because of the cut of meat. The white wine sauce however was another force to be reckoned with. In that the delicacy of the cream was met with a distinct wine flavor that announced itself upon contact with the tongue.

Whoever said starch on starch was a good idea was absolutely right. With the phenomenon of mashed potatoes on pizza, this rendition was fulfilling. The fact that the potatoes were in wedges instead gave the pizza dish a whole other dimension. The starchy number cut through the salty meat (still not sure whether it was salami) and was neutralized with the white sauce. The dough, while perfectly sized and cooked, was a bit on the chewy side.

No I was not sick of white wine by this time. Neither was I sick of seafood. I’ll start with the pasta. Which was paccheri in shape, cooked Al dente, as it should be and of a humble serving size because you can probably tell I was running a bit full by now. . The white wine sauce however, was a bit on the salty side. Which took away from the delicacy with which this dish deserved to be cooked. I forgave the misstep, because of the perfectly clean and cooked clams.

The Costata di manzo (steak) was Big, but nothing to write home about. Guess you shouldn’t be ordering steak and fries at an Italian restaurant.

I hope you were not waiting for a dessert review. Because there was none. I was stuffed, my company was buzzed from wine and I was ready to venture out into the fiesta that is the old port.

FOOD: 8.6

Overall, Solo Italiano gave the ambiance needed for an unpretentious yet intimate dinner. The ingredients used were fresh and I cannot question that the staff knows how to pair wines. I would recommend this place for any occassion. Except a baby’s birthday party. Do not waste this culinary experience on an audience that has no appreciation for delicacy and art.

Overall FAS rating: 8.4

Wine pairing: Bottle of Greco di Tufo (White)