Restaurant Roulette: Busalacchi’s A Modo Mio
Address: 3707 FIFTH AVE, San Diego, CA 92103
Phone number: 619-298-0119
Rating:(4.5 out of 5 stars) Great ambiance, the food was deliciously interesting; I was properly satisfied despite the fact that my experience was promotional only. I must return soon.
That wonderful part of the year has come around in San Diego. I am referring to the San Diego Restaurant Week, where a group of restaurants offer special prices for a special menu for only 6 days. It happens twice annually, and more than 180 restaurants from across the San Diego County participate each time.
If you are interested and want to take part, it’s quite simple. You can visit their website and check out the menus to find the dish you would most like to try. Dishes range from the Lunch’s two-course meal ($10, $15 or $20), or their Dinner’s three-course ($20, $30, $40).
This time around my dinner partner and I decided to visit Busalacchi’s A Modo Mio in Hillcrest at 3707 Fifth Ave. The dining room where we were sat appeared as elegant as I expected it to be. The seemingly candle lit darkness complimented the shadows and decorum of the restaurant. The modern Tuscan setting outdoors made it the perfect dining place socially or intimately. Soon after being sat down, we were brought our special menu, which offered three choices in three-course menus, from which I chose the last one. You really feel like family here where you are constantly catered to by friendly wait staff and even managers.
My night began with the Bone Marrow, which was roasted and complimented with pear tomatoes and citrus vinaigrette. When I ordered it, I half expected the bone marrow to be already smeared into some sort of bread or a salad. To my surprise, I was brought 4 large bones sitting on a mountain of granulated salt with marrow still inside, and a side of bread to eat with. Back at home I used to fight my dad over who got to eat the bone marrow, whenever it was available, but that night I could honestly say that I had triumphed over him, for this dish was exquisite. Unfortunately, marrow is not only really high in fats and bad for your health if eaten indiscriminately, but there isn’t ever enough in the bone to die happily. I did, however, deeply enjoy every last bit of marrow I could scrape from the bones I was served. It was small in portion but large in taste, delivering just enough to properly smear the bread and deliver its fullness. My partner had the calamari which was light and crispy and definitely full of flavor. The light breading on these delicate morsels was just enough to allow the homemade marina dipping sauce to coat these rings of perfection. This appetizer had a generous portion for even restaurant week and my partner could have easily just had that and not needed another bite!
For the main entrée, I was served the Vitello Latte; veal loin glazed with florio marsala and chunks of mushroom. I was brought four loins of the softest veal I have so far met. They lay completely covered by the florio marsala, which gave the meat a very sweet nutty taste, resembling perhaps the taste of pistachios. Every single flavor complimented each other into a leveled combination where each layer had an equal standing. The first bite immersed my tongue into what I could only refer to as having food that is both solid as ham but soft as jello at the same time. I’m not saying that the veal was in any way gummy nor chewy, but its soft consistence was a contradiction. My partner had a short rib lasagna that was rich and tender and the shredded meat was well seasoned. The sauce was a sweet tomato base that complimented the vegetables. This too was a good-sized portion for the hungry diner.
Lastly, for desert, I ordered a cannoli and cappuccino. The cannoli, for those who don’t recognize one except for The Godfather reference, is an Italian-American pastry dessert which originates from Sicily. It is a tube-shaped shell of fried pastry dough that I can more closely associate to a Mexican “buñuelo” without sugar. Inside the tube sits a sweet creamy filling containing ricotta cheese, candied fruit and chocolate chips. I have had cannolis before on different occasions, and compared to them, the Busalacchis cannoli takes the crown for the sweetest. I am an avid café-au lait (coffee with milk) drinker with its fair share of sugar; sometimes even when I eat sugary desserts. This particular cannoli was so sweet that it was enough to sweeten my palate and my cappuccino. But I don’t regret a single bite of it, my choice of post-dinner beverage gave the end of the night the proverbial cherry on top.
This is the first time I had gone to a Busalacchis, but seeing that the serving sizes for an event like the San Diego Restaurant Week are already very generous, I can honestly say that it is my newfound duty to return as an average full-price paying customer.