“Anything with starch and cheese that’s deep-fried is good in my book”

The above quote is courtesy of my lovely girlfriend Jess. Yesterday, after watching the Phantom Gourmet, we decided that the arancini featured was too good of a thing to pass up. We searched around the Phantom’s site and found the Rustic Kitchen, which is right down the street from her.

This is where the newest section of my blog starts. Jess and I, as you all know, like to eat. We have decided that, instead of always going to regular chain restaurants, we’re going to start trying new places, which I will then review. Rustic Kitchen is the first one. We were started off with focaccia with bean spread before the arancini even arrived, and it was delicious, a nice change from the typical olive oil usually served with bread.

The arancini…where can I begin? The recipe I linked above was the one featured on Phantom, but there are dozens if ways to make it. Essentially it’s risotto with cheese and deep-fried. Jess said it was better than the fried mac ‘n’ cheese we had at Friday’s, but I disagree; it’s close, but not QUITE as good.

Finally, the baked rigatoni, which I am SO glad we decided to split as it was almost more than enough than we could eat together after the bread and arancini. The rigatoni was a little overdone, but the mozzarella, ricotta and tomatoes more than made up for it. The entire thing was served in the very cast-iron skillet that it was baked in, which kept it hot and gooey the whole time.

I will say, as impressed as I was with the food, the place itself left something to be desired. The waitress was wonderfully nice, but came off as fake. We ate in the bar, which was intimate and well set-up, but it was small. And the walls–I don’t know what the walls of the main dining room were decorated with, but in the bar, they were covered with wine bottle labels. And not in an appealing way either, it looked haphazard and like an after-thought. Finally, prices. VERY worth it! The most expensive item on our bill was the bottle of wine, which was just about half the cost of the bill. Not bad in my book.

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