Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar
Garlic Focaccia and White Roll – Pesto Olive Oil, Herb Butter
Battuta al Coltello – Piedmont style chopped to order Prime Beef Tenderloin Tartare, Sunchoke Chips, Grated Egg Yolk, Bagna Cauda, Olio Dell’ Ornellaia Olive Oil
Polipo – Marinated Mediterranean Octopus, Potato, Black Olives, Capers, Olio Dell’ Ornellaia Olive Oil
Burrata – Apulia Cheese, Roasted Shaved Spicy Carrot Salad, Persimmon Gel, Almond Sorrel Pesto, Olio Dell’ Ornellaia Olive Oil
Salsiccia Calabrese – Grilled Housemade Sausage, Roasted Shallot Marmalade, Trumpet Mushrooms, Charred Rapini
Uovo Fritto – Poached-Breaded-Fried Organic Egg, Parmigiano Cheese Fondue, Spinach, Porcini, Alba White Truffles
Quaglia – Fried Quail Lollipops, Guanciale, Spicy Black Fig Marmalade, Sweet Potato Sauce
Barbabietole – House Smoked Salmon, Roasted Beets, Apple, Crème Fraiche-Tarragon Sauce
Spaghetti Alio & Olio – Roasted Whole Garlic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Calabrese Pepper, Parmigiano Reggiano
Taglierini ai Ricci – 30 Yolks Taglierini, Sea Urchin, Bottarga, Leeks, Ginger-Carrot Juice
Raviolini Pugeliesi – Small Pocket Milk Curd and Broccoli Ravioli, Clams Guazzetto, Herbed Tomato Fondue
Pici al Cinghiale – Hand-Rolled Thick Spaghetti, Wild Boar Ragu, “No Tomato” as Tuscans desire
Risotto al Taleggio – Radicchio Tardivo, Bosc Pear, Taleggio Cheese Fondue
Tortellini – Oxtail, Mushroom, Artichokes
Maiale – Pork Loin, Sliced Pears, Shaved Sunchokes, Sunchoke Puree
Trippa Satriano – Tripe in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Branzino – Mediterranean Seabass, Sweet Potato, Baby Kale, Guanciale Jus
Double Espresso on Ice
Tiramisu – Lady Fingers, Mascarpone Cheese, Espresso / Pistacchio Passion – Layered Pistacchio Cream, Cream Cheese Custard, Whipped Cream on Walnut Crust
Rosalba’s Cookies – Lemon, Amaretto, Chocolate, Hazelnut, Wedding Cookies
Rhum Baba – Citrus Zabaglione, Macerated Berries
Now an industry leader for over 31-years, the old-school Italian classics, great service and expansive wine list all well known with Chef Francesco Di Caudo slowly building a name for himself by way of elegant creations not dissimilar to what one might see from the kitchens of Tuscany or even Milan, it was as a party of two that dinner was enjoyed at Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar on Friday.
Nothing short of an icon in a city of constant turnover, the Ferraro family dedicating their lives to the restaurant they built with both Gino and his wife present once again on this night as a lounge singer serenaded patrons while College Football entertained guests at the bar, it was minutes prior to a 6:30 reservation that seating was offered in a semicircular booth behind the hostess podium, familiar servers stopping by with menus and Gino soon standing tableside with a bottle of Prosecco.
Recently transitioning from Autumn to Winter, the classics still present but more than eight new items including several housemade Pastas joining a wide-ranging menu more than capable of pleasing gourmands in addition to those simply looking for a great Meatball or Red Sauce, it was with carte blanche deferred to the kitchen that Dinner began with three Antipasti including imported Burrata at the center of Carrot Salad slicked in Mr. Ferraro’s private-stock Olive Oil, the clean sweetness subtle in the setting of Persimmon Gel but far more noteworthy atop tender Octopus and Beef Tartare with cured shavings of Egg Yolk plus Herbs.
Moving along briskly to four more Antipasti paired to Sauvignon Blanc, the crispness of the Wine playing well off bitter Rapini served alongside a coil of Sausage as well as Happy Hour Fowl sweetened by Figs, it would be difficult to say which plate from this course was best when comparing these to a creamy house-smoked Salmon Terrine or crispy poached Egg and shaved White Truffles since not a bite of any went back to the kitchen uneaten.
Sopping up the last of the Egg Yolk with a Roll, the scarpetta of Sauce soon to continue in earnest, it was with a glass of Italian White Chardonnay that five Pastas and one Risotto arrived in two rounds, Gino’s favorite Spaghetti Alio & Olio as impressive as ever with plenty of Garlic while thin Noodles topped in Uni and aromatic Carrot Juice dazzled in its complexity, as did plump Broccoli-Cheese Ravioli set-up against similarly sized Clams beneath a quenelle of Tomato Marmalade.
Once again resetting share-plates, the same Chardonnay proving rich enough with Oak to stand up against Beef but a glass of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo even better, those looking for the city’s best handmade Pasta will find themselves challenged to top Chef Di Caudo’s Pici amidst tender braised Boar Ragu, the Oxtail Tortellini unfortunately getting a bit lost in the pool of earthy Sauce while the subtly sweet Risotto attests to a kitchen functioning with both skill and confidence.
Veering partially off-menu for Secondi, the must-have spicy Tripe served in a demi-portion alongside two additional plates, it was unfortunate that not enough stomach capacity remained to finish the whole Mediterranean Seabass served simply alongside sautéed Kale and Sweet Potatoes, that space instead reserved for a stylish stack of seared Pork amidst visually indistinguishable layers of Sunchokes and Bosc Pears.
Enjoying a collection of cover tunes ranging from Phil Collins to Boyz II Men as the Buckeyes finished off USC, a double Espresso refreshing the palate and fortifying spirits for a few more bites, anyone visiting Ferraro’s without an order of Rosalba’s Cookies might as well just say they’ve never been to the Restaurant, though Mimmo’s childhood favorite Pistachio Passion Cake and Di Caudo’s impeccable Rhum Baba are also well worth the calories.
FIVE STARS: In a city of re-brands and implosions it speaks volumes about Gino Ferraro’s eponymous Restaurant that it has not only managed to survive but thrive for three decades, the service and Wine List speaking for themselves while the addition of Chef Di Caudo has incrementally advanced a menu that will please the traveled and adventurous just as it has those still seeking long-heralded favorites.
RECOMMENDED: Battuta al Coltello, Salsiccia Calabrese, Uovo Fritto, Spaghetti Alio & Olio, Taglierini ai Ricci, Pici al Cinghiale, Maiale, Trippa Satriano, Pistachio Passion, Rhum Baba, Rosalba’s Cookies.
AVOID: A small quibble, but the Tortellini was over-sauced which muted the Oxtail’s flavor.
TIP: Pastas, Breads, and Desserts are made daily on premise and Whole Wheat as well as Gluten-free Pastas are available for those with dietary restrictions.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.