Café Renzo

High ceiling, plenty of walking space, gives off the feeling of being a classy place. For a party of two, we were seated by the front window. Imagine two small tables (meant for only 2 people) placed by each other, one side of each table being right up against the window. Instead of having the two chairs facing each other, one chair was by the window, and the other was facing the window. Awkward?

Complimentary bread did not arrive until after ordering. When they eventually arrived, they were very soft and looked like dinner rolls, yum. We were very surprised this place didn’t have garlic bread on the menu, must be American in origin? Ordered Bruschetta as an appetizer – baked roma tomatoes with basil and extra virgin olive oil, served on toasted bread $7. I was surprised when it arrived because I wasn’t expecting the tomatoes to be on top of pieces of what looked like pita chips instead of slices of sourdough bread or some similar type of bread. I didn’t bother trying the olives in the middle of the dish, they’re usually much too salty for my taste.

As for pastas, we ordered Gnocchi al Pesto (apologies for the blurry photo!) – homemade gnocchi with pesto sauce, $16 – and Orecchiette alla Barese – one of the weekly specials, orechiette shell pasta sautéed with broccoli rabe, anchovies, garlic, parmesan cheese & aromatic bread crumbs in a light white wine sauce, $15. Giant-dish-small-portion type of place. I asked the waiter for cheese on top of the orecchiette, ended up being too much cheese though…The broccoli rabe was good (to be honest, we had to Google this to see what it was prior to ordering), a lot of the shells were bunched together, and the anchovies are not too overwhelming (though still too salty for my personal preference). The gnocchi looked like cute, little marshmallows. They had a nice, smooth/slippery texture and were squishy/doughy, reminded me of the Chinese tongyuan. I would have preferred them to be more firm. Other than that, the dishes were more filling than they appear.

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