Monday, June 1, 2009

Bel-Lago Revisited!

While I truly enjoyed my first visit to the newly renovated and completely retooled Bel-Lago, there were a few small glitches that were noted. Since I was there in the first few weeks of the restaurant opening, I wanted to make a return trip. I was anxious to see what was happening. And since I was making a comparison, I thought it important that I compare the same dish I had issues with. So upon my return to Bel-Lago I had high hopes. Let me say that I left this time wanting more!!!

Our waiter welcomed us with a huge smile and asked what we would like to drink. He returned with our drinks and a basket of lovely warm rolls and butter. Delicious! Oh things were looking good.

The polenta fries were a huge hit with me the first time, so I wanted to try a different appetizer at this visit. I had eyed the parmesan risotto balls on the menu before, and this time they were a must. There are three piping hot parmesan risotto balls served on three different sauces; marinara, alfredo and pesto, with grated parmesan and chopped fresh parsley sprinkled over top. These are a great way to begin your meal! They are so creamy, and so delicious. Each sauce brings something different to the risotto balls. I am a fan of all three of these sauces so I would really be hard pressed to pick a favorite. So I’m not gonna! You’ll just have to go and try them out for yourself. You won’t be sorry :-)

The Chef’s soup that day was a chicken and corn chowder. Another hit! The chowder had just a hint of heat in it. Not so much that it slapped you in the face or chased you around the table til you cried uncle and gulped a glass of ice water. That kind of heat does nothing for me. No, this was a good kind of heat. The corn and chicken flavor were true and good. Then the finish had just a tingle of heat. Again, you’re left wanting more. But for goodness sake I had to save room for the pièce de résistance, my spaghetti and meatball. So I had to abandon my soup before I saw the bottom of the bowl.

Now for what I had been waiting for…it was served. And again it was a thing of beauty. I don’t know about you, but in my book spaghetti and meatballs rate right up there with the Sistine Chapel. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. But just a bit. I truly am a lover of spaghetti and meatballs. So I could not wait any longer. I dug in. Yes, yes, yes! Oh this time it was indescribably perfect. The sauce hit my tongue with a flash of brilliance. The freshness of the tomatoes (even if they were canned, who cared? The were “good” canned!) tickled my taste buds. As I bit down into the spaghetti a sigh escaped. I simply cannot put words to the incredible wonderfulness that is perfectly cooked homemade pasta. This was it. Now for the meatball. I swear I think my hand trembled as the fork traveled to my mouth. Sweet Mother of God was this meatball perfection! The seasonings were absolutely spot on. No heavy handedness with the salt this time. Oh my, this was what spaghetti and meatballs should be.

After a meal like this, I took the opportunity to introduce myself to executive chef Jeff Heisler. What a great experience to get to chat with him about his passion - food! It is terrific fun to listen to him explain his dishes and what he feels makes Bel-Lago so special. I was excited to tell him how much I love the improvements he’s made, and how I appreciated the entire dining experience.

Go visit Bel-Lago the first chance you have. The view is awesome, the newly decorated restaurant is lovely, and most importantly the food is delicious! And if you have the chance to tell Chef Jeff you enjoyed your meal, do so! Who doesn’t love to hear when they’ve done an outstanding job? And if you see a “young” lady at a table surrounded by polenta fries, risotto balls and spaghetti & meatballs, give me a nod. But don’t expect conversation from me…my mouth will probably be full ;-)

170 N Sunbury Rd
Westerville, Ohio 43081
PHONE: (614) 891-0200
FAX: (614) 891-0636

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