For months my wife and I had been looking for an opportunity to visit Allora Restaurant, and when we finally did we were delighted. We arrived just before sunset on a warm summer evening and were immediately seated on the lovely outdoor deck overlooking a lake. Sipping prosecco as we watched the sky turn brilliant colors as the sun sank behind the hills across the lake was magical!
Our waiter Joseph was friendly and patient as we dawdled over the interesting Italian menu, which reminded me of many of the delicious meals prepared in my childhood by my Italian grandmother, who was a genius in the kitchen. We finally settled on antipasto and a variety of different hot appetizers -- fried calamari, baked ravioli, eggplant rollatini -- which all appeared quickly in healthy but not overwhelming portions. Each was delicious, cooked perfectly, and well matched to the prosecco.
As entrees, we ordered a pasta dish and a seafood dish of pan-seared scallops. The pasta -- orrechiette or small cap-like cups of pasta with home-made sausage and broccoli rabe in an Alfredo-like cream sauce -- was incredibly delicious. The scallops were equally good. Everything had a fresh, home-made quality (just like Nonna's cooking long ago!), and none of it seemed pre-cooked and warmed up to serve. Both of us were delighted with our entrees and we kept stealing bites from the other's plate.
We shared a dessert of pistachio semi-freddo with an Italian cherry sauce -- also with a wonderful home-made taste -- but a bit too rich and over-the-top. Altogether a delicious, very satisfying evening meal!
As we were about to leave, feeling happy and very well fed, I stopped at the men's room, and noticed on the wall a framed essay by Allora owner Joe Ferro. It shared Ferro's wonderful insights on what it means to be Italian in America these days and heralded the culture of the Italian kitchen as the core value of Italian life. I commented to the headwaiter that Ferro's words summoned up all the nostalgic memories of my own Italian grandmother and grandfather, and he whipped out a copy of the essay from a drawer and gave it to me to take home to read and re-read at leisure. Allora is a family restaurant where each diner is made to feel part of a larger "Famiglia!" I would recommend it happily to anyone!