Friday, December 14, 2012

A Prodigious Pile Of Pasta

Mama Mia, that's a prodigious pile of pasta on my plate! I had to ask our server, the charming Jessica, if there was any spaghetti left in the kitchen for the other diners who were filing in for dinner. Jess assured me there was plenty. That's a good thing, because the servings at CDB's Southside Restaurant are humongo.

CDB's Southside located on Westshore has made their home in the building that years ago housed the greatest Italian restaurant this side of New York's boroughs - Maria's. Later, Gabiano's took over, now CDB's, and I think CDB's has done Maria's proud.

CDB's has expanded by opening the second floor Sorrento Room and Bar. This 2,000 square foot space is named for the city of Sorrento, long favored by Italians as a seaside retreat. "When you ascend the staircase you escape to an intentionally adult space with seating for 70 at counter and bar height tables for over 20 at the bar. With numerous big screen high def. TVs visible from every seat and sophisticated audio/video capabilities, it is ideal for gathering with friends to watch sports, as well as for private parties and meetings. The room is adjoined by a patio with seating for 24."

We were seated in the main dining room that retains some of the look and feel of the Maria's that we came to know and love. My bride and I arrived around 5:30 this past Wednesday, without reservations. Seating wasn't a problem since there was only one other table that was occupied.

With a bunch of servers wandering around aimlessly I began thinking that this was not a good sign. Silly me! Before we finished our meal it appeared that the food gates were opened and the crowd began surging in as water flooding a bypass canal. Yes, I meant "food gates".

Our evening began with apéritifs, an Aperol with a bright orange color and a unique bitter-sweet taste for me and a Prosecco split for my Baby. For an appetizer, I chose the black mussels sauteed in Diablo sauce.

This was a huge bowl of perfectly prepared mussels in a delightful, but not overwhelming, spicy tomato-based sauce.

The menu indicated that this dish was perfect for sharing, or if the diner chose to be a "hog-dog" then keep it for yourself.

I chose the latter primarily because the Belle of Ballast Point eschews shell fish.

With a bed of pasta that mussel appetizer would be a complete meal all by itself.

Aside from the smoky mussels served at Timpano's, these were seriously the best mussels I can remember consuming. Mio dio, erano buoni!

We had our choice of salads - a Caesar for her and a spinach salad for me. Both salads were good, but with the portion size of our entrées, were unnecessary.

To accompany our entrées, we chose the house wine by the glass - a red Bolla that was exceptionally good for the price and the pour.

For her entrée the Belle chose the Manicotti - "a cheese-filled crepe with your choice of sausage, meatball, or sautéed mushrooms baked in your choice of marinara or Alfredo sauce and topped with Mozzarella." Obviously my bride went with the meat balls, but she couldn't decide on the sauce. Jess recommended a pink princess sauce (how apropos), a combination of the two. This was a gastronomic tour de force.

I am an aficionado of all things spicey, and stuff from the sea. The Conch Fra-Diablo called to me as the sea nymphs who lured sailors to their death with a bewitching song. 

Thankfully death wasn't involved but I did answer the Siren's call. Conch or squid sautéed with Vigo olive oil, fresh garlic, and Diablo sauce served over a bed of linguini.

I chose the conch, and this was an excellent choice. This spiral-shelled marine gastropod mollusk was served as thinly shaved slices of tender muscle embedded in the Diablo sauce.

It may not appear obvious from the photo, but the pasta was piled high. I had a big wad for lunch yesterday and, with a salad, there is still enough for lunch today.

We needed dessert like we needed an extra stomach - come to think of it, an extra stomach would be nice - but, we chose to take home an order of the Raspberry Amaretto Cheesecake. It looked good and tasted even better. I would have included a picture, but we ate it in bed while watching the teevee. I rarely take a camera to bed, so you will just have to use your imagination. Or not!

Our bill for the evening came to $86.09. We tacked on an addition $20 for exceptional service.

CDB's Southside on Foodio54Cdb's Southside on Urbanspoon

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