Lying in bed yesterday morning with the newspaper, a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee and a hot momma by my side I came across an ad announcing a grand opening special: a four course dinner for two with a bottle of wine for just $45. A deal like that could not be passed up, so I called Bellissimo Italian Eatery in Largo and made reservations for that very evening.
We were promptly seated and our affable server, Paul, presented menus, took our coupon, and explained our choices: basically anything on the menu running $16.99 or less, and there were many items to choose from. We requested a very adequate bottle of Cabernet and placed our order for two bowls of soup, our choice of salad dressings, and our entrees. All of this plus dessert for just $45? We were very impressed.
It came as no surprise to my bride that my choice for an entree was a tad more than $16.99, but Paul said there would be no problem and an additional $4 would cover my food upgrade. We settled in and enjoyed sipping our wine and nibbling on a very warm loaf of bread while awaiting the rest of our food.
The soup course consisted of a mildly spicy Pasta Fagioli for me and a bowl of Italian Wedding Soup for my dining companion. Both were excellent!
The salads consisted of fresh mixed greens. I neglected taking a photo since I felt that if you have seen one salad you pretty much know what they look like. I suppose you could say the same thing about the soup, but what the heck!
My entree soon arrived and all I could mutter was, "Is this the child's plate?" Paul chuckled and said the other half of my meal would be out shortly.
This huge serving of Pescatori could have fed me and a couple of children. Clams, fish, shrimp, calamari, and mussels were placed atop linguini swimming in a piquant fra diavolo sauce. The pasta was perfectly al dente and the seafood cooked to perfection - not raw and not over done. This dish was worth the $4 up charge.
My bride, the Belle of Gulf Boulevard, was equally delighted with her choice of The Trio: Lasagna, Chicken Parmesan, and Fettuccini Alfredo.
Said she, "The fettuccini Alfredo was rich, creamy and one of the best I have ever had. The chicken was tender, juicy, and the lasagna was good, but could have used a little more sauce." But still, a really great trio.
Rounding out our Bellissimo dining adventure were the two included house made Cannolis.
Even without the special pricing we could have easily gotten out of Bellissimo for under a hundred dollars. Before our bill was presented I asked Paul to give me the cost of dinner without the discount. He seemed surprised by this request but I explained that we provide a gratuity based upon the full price, not the discount, because the effort of service would be the same either way. Apparently we are in the minority since few people tip in that manner. To them, I have one word: Cheap!