Dish 39: Antipasto Misto at L’Angolo, 1415 Porter St, http://www.salentorestaurant.com/langolorest.html
Tonight brought back so many memories: learning to make ravioli from Alexandra’s Italian grandmother who could barely speak English, the sight of the little raviolis floating to the surface of the boiling water when they were ready to eat, and the popcorn that her mom made for us in a huge iron pan, the kernels pushing the lid up; the salty Asian noodles that Mom used to make for me and Brian that we liked so much; the antipasto that Aunt Chris and Uncle Craig ordered as part of our picnic for cousin Rick’s birthday at his first house on his own; the murals on the wall of the restaurant in the medieval German city when Brian and I snuck out for a drink one night; the limoncello that Heather and Steph’s friend brought out after we had dinner at Madeleine’s, and before we stumbled upon a huge Honda drag meet. All this from a tiny restaurant on Porter Street, L’Angolo.
L’Angolo—to the Valley girls reading this—is like Cousin’s more sophisticated cousin. It is a warm enclave with faux frescoes, exposed brick, white tablecloths, and friendly, helpful staff. Neither Dani nor I was too hungry, but we gleefully polished off the antipasto misto, a plate with sautéed carrots, beets, and mushrooms, a potato cake, eggplant parm, lentils, and fried cauliflower. We liked the carrots, eggplant, and lentils the best—the carrots were firm and still had texture and sweetness, the eggplant parm was cheesy and not too heavily breaded, and the lentils had a light complimentary but not overwhelming balsamic-y dressing.
The star, however, was the pappardelle agrodolce, an Apulian specialty (Apulia is the heel of the boot, the region of Italy where the owners, Davide and Kathryn, are from, explained our server); thick, heavy strips of pappardelle with irresistibly salty radicchio and asparagus in white balsamic sauce—I will be dreaming about the light dressing on this pasta tonight! We were too full to order dessert, but when they brought out limoncello and a slice of Kathryn’s dense chocolate cake—who could say no? It’s served with raspberry reduction, and the cake is thick and chocolately but never heavy or cloying.
L’Angolo offers many options for vegetarians and vegans as well as carnivorous folks—something I am growing more sensitive to—and makes for a perfect “Sunday night dinner”, as Dani put it. I know both of us will be back, and soon, places and dishes will remind us of L’Angolo, instead of the other way around.
Tags: antipasto misto, apulia, davide, delicious, drag race, family, fresco, friendly, friendship, hondas, hungry, italian, kathryn, l'angolo, limoncello, memories, pappardelle, pasta, philly mag, south philly