I was not sure what to expect from an Italian restaurant in a strip mall across from Kroger’s, but the couple who recommended the restaurant assured me the food was delicious. When you walk in, you are pleasantly surprised by the surroundings, you leave the strip mall thoughts behind, you are in a nicely decorated restaurant. There are high top tables when you enter, a smattering of regular height tables and a few booths. Our foursome decided on a booth, it was a great choice.
The first indication of the food quality was the bread, which I was told was made in-house. A basket was brought to the table with two bowls of olive oil with a ton of pepper added to the oil. The bread was delicious, just be aware that you could receive a fair amount of pepper on the olive oil dip. A second basket was delivered. I give the bread an 8.
The Burrata appetizer was served with halved cherry tomatoes, arugula, balsamic and extra virgin olive oil ($12) – One of the best Burratas around. The skin was soft and when you cut into the center, the interior oozed, with great flavor and texture. It went well with the arugula and the scant, few halved cherry tomatoes. The only negative was the salting of the arugula was very uneven. The Burrata is a 10 and the salad & tomatoes are a 7.
The Cibo Meatballs ($10) were topped with San Marzano tomato sauce, and a dollop of ricotta. There is little positive I can say about these meatballs, it was a complete failure. They were served room temperature, much too cool, the meat was stringy, there was little, if any flavor, and the texture was too firm. The sauce was the only redeeming feature. I would avoid this altogether. Sorry, but this dish gets a 0.
Eggplant Parmigiana ($12), was a typical recipe, but served in individual casserole dishes. The dish, itself was thinly sliced eggplant layered with mozzarella and parmigiana and san Marzano tomato sauce. This appetizer is easily an entrée portion and was absolutely delicious. It was individually baked to order so let it cool down before you start to eat. This is definitely a 10.
Veal Scaloppini ($28) is thinly pounded and served with sage, prosciutto cotto, fontina cheese, and white wine, atop polenta and spinach. This is also a large portion with several slices of delicious veal, perfectly fried sitting atop the prosciutto, spinach and polenta, a mighty tower. As a head’s up, there is a difference between prosciutto parma (the thin slices that we all enjoy with mozzarella and tomato as an appetizer) and prosciutto cotto, the latter is part of this dish and resembles boiled ham versus the cured prosciutto. I really like the veal, but the prosciutto cotto was not to my liking and I was not overly enamored by the polenta. I give this a 7.
Tiramisu ($8) with espresso and kahlua dipped savoiardi, mascarpone mousse, cocoa powder was a great split for dessert. This was an excellent version, with the cake and custard allowed to shine versus some versions where the liquor is the centerpiece. It is a nice hug at the end of the meal. I give it a 9.
Service was very good.
Overall, I liked Cibo & Beve. The atmosphere was great and the food has potential. With one meal under my belt I have a better feel for the strengths and will order accordingly on the next visit.