Strano! Sicilian Kitchen & Bar
948 Cooper Street
Even though I live just a few blocks away from Strano, I never really wanted to go. Why? Because I hate the sign. It's just so ugly! And inside it is all white tablecloth and there's the curse and so on. After the CA's rave review, the Tuesday ladies and I went for happy hour and were thoroughly disappointed by the drinks and the apps. I really almost texted Jennifer Biggs and called her a liar.
When one of my Flyer assignments included a dish from Strano, I decided to take Jiro (age 10) and do a full on dinner. I was prepared to hate.
We walked over from my apartment around 5:00pm on a Saturday night. There were several full tables and we were asked if we had a reservation. I replied, "Surely we don't need a reservation at 5:00pm?"
We were seated next to the window at a two top, which pleased me very much. I love people watching. When Jiro sat down he said, "This place is fancy."
"A little," I replied.
Strano is a little weird in that way. I think it wants to be somewhere between casual and fancy, but the white tablecloths and the prices (which are higher than Bari) definitely make it seem fancy. However, I'd say the majority of diners dress casual.
Moving on, our very sweet waitress brought us some garlic bread and olive oil to snack on while we reviewed the menu.
The garlic bread is not for amateurs. It features whole cloves of garlic. Lots of them. The bread was tasty but I am not a huge garlic fan so I shied away from eating too much.
Next we had Rosemary's Sicilain salad. It was delicious.
The dressing was really sweet and tasty and Jiro, who is not usually a salad fan, was happy to help me eat it. He really liked the bacon and pecans. I thought the arugula could have been cleaned better--this is a major pet peeve of mine--but there were only a few spoiled bits.
We saw a lot of really nice meat and cheese plates coming out of the kitchen and were jealous. In fact, everything that came out looked great.
While we waited on the main courses we had lovely conversations about why my hair is so gray and why the Roo is so fun to ride. (Party bus!) We were going to the movies at Studio after dinner, but I couldn't convince Jiro to ride the Roo. (Once we got there and spent a half hour looking for parking, I regretted not insisting.)
For dinner, Jiro ordered a "personal" Carne Classica pizza which has giant pepperoni, Italian sausage and bacon. I don't think 12" is the standard measure for a personal size pizza, but ok.
It looked and tasted great. I absolutely would come for lunch and eat pizza or get one to go. Even at $17. Jiro could only eat about three slices and I had to have one, so we had a half a pizza left for later, which was just fine.
I ordered the ravioli of the day which featured goat cheese, pepperoni and basil inside and sundried tomato on top. There was also more garlic bread and extra garlic cloves in the sauce but they were easily avoided.
It was DELICIOUS. Seriously. So, so good. I could only eat half and was happy to have it the next day!
Jiro wanted some key lime pie for dessert, so we got the closest thing--lemon sorbet. The presentation was a crowd pleaser.
It was very good and quite refreshing.
We also had an order of Zappolies, which are usually served at brunch. They were very tasty too--like little beignets with hazelnut and Campari berry dipping sauce.
We were both stuffed and happy, and we had lunch for the next day.
Our total came to $70 plus tip, which was a little jarring. Like I said, the prices are high! Looking over my receipt I see that it specifies I had a FULL salad and a FULL ravioli, so I am guessing half orders are available at a lower price? Also a scan of the lunch menu shows much more reasonable prices. For example, the same "personal" size 12" pizza is $13 at lunch versus $17 at dinner.
So overall, I give it the thumbs up. The service was excellent. I'd say the prices should be adjusted a bit, but considering the place was packed an hour later when we went to the movies, I guess people don't mind paying them.