Sunday, January 21, 2007

FOOD: Christy's Ristorante

After the concert, Bill and Leo took us to a very nice dinner at Christy's Ristorante in Long Beach's Broadway Corridor, where we met up with their friend Kate. It was our first time at the restaurant, but they'd been there many times before. We thought we could waltz in at 6:30pm on a Saturday night and get seated, but even at that early hour a reservation was needed. The restaurant, spread out over several rooms, was buzzing. So we hunkered down in the bar, and ordered some cocktails and appetizers, visiting and letting the time pass. The bar displayed an interesting collection of libations, and I spied a whisky I'd never heard of, a 16-year-old Tomintoul. Having been stomping around Aberdeenshire recently, I knew where Tomintoul was, a gateway village to the Speyside region, so I figured it had to be tried. It turned out to be light and very aromatic, not unlike a Dalwhinnie. Off to a good start, shortly confirmed by the arrival of our appetizers. An architecturally arranged pile of diver scallops, lightly scented with cumin, with carmelized cippolino onions, was perfectly cooked. And the shrimp skewer came with a delicious very lemony butter sauce. Fortified by these, we settled in to the back room of the bar, where a homey couch and chairs arrangement allowed us to visit and sip comfortably. A table turned up sooner than promised, and the dinner that ensued was every bit as good as the beginning promised. The menu was Italian, with a nice balance of pastas and meat and fish dishes. I had some New Zealand lamb chops that were tender, juicy, and a perfect medium-rare, roasted with rosemary (and presented with a aromatic sprig to enhance the effect), and complimented with a sweet pinot noir and pomegranite reduction. I couldn't resist picking up the bones to get every last bit of that delicious meat, and then licking my fingers. Bill and Leo both had a hazelnut-encrusted sea bass with tomato-basil risotto and asparagus, of which no evidence remained when they were done. Nor was there anything on George's plate, which had contained king salmon roasted on a cedar plank (on which it was also served), adorned with a mango salsa, sauteed broccolini and also the tomato-basil risotto. And Kate, who claimed to be not a big clam fan, nonetheless ate up her linguine con vongole. This feast was finished off with some sorbets (they had some interesting fresh fruit flavors, including pomegranite and mango), a gluten-free creme brulée for George, and a deliciously rich chocolate banana bread pudding with five spoons. We will be glad to visit Christy's again.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Sounds delightful, Tom! An evocative review that has me hungry. Gotta add it to my "to do" dining list.

One nit: I think it's "pomegranate", rather than "pomegranite". The former comes from french roots meaning "apple with many seeds". I'm sure the latter would be rather hard to chew :-)