We live in South Philly. South Philly is Italian. South Philly is a lot of things, but a lot of what it is is Italian. My next door neighbor speaks only Italian. There are a lot of great restaurants here, and many of the restaurants here are Italian. I don't know how to make this clearer.
Before I felt like I was someone who could cook, I could cook Italian. Sous Chef Brian and I are both part Italian. We were both raised on Italian food. And yet, in this Italian neighborhood, we've been consistently disappointed in the Italian restaurants. There are exceptions, sure. We had an amazing dinner at Le Virtu several months ago. We really liked everything about our experience at The High Note six months ago. We go to bakeries and buy tomato pie. But most of the places around here seem to drown the food in cream sauce and cheese, and then you can't taste anything. I really have nothing against cream sauce and cheese, you know that, but I want to taste my food. Lots of times we're served red sauce swimming in oil. It's not ok.
One of the things that holds us back, beyond our negative experiences, is our own menu limitations. I'm not going to eat veal or mussels, and that makes it tough. Brian's going to eat less of that than I am. So we check menus in advance.
Last week we were celebrating (it's my birthday, he released his EP, we've been together for a million years last week, it's even our houseiversary) and figured it was time to try another Italian joint. The first place we picked wasn't open, and the next two menus we looked at were a bit too meat-focused, so we ended up at Da Vinci. It had decent Yelp reviews and the menu looked good.