Aug 292011

Saturday night Gabriele and I had dinner at Geranio in Old Town Alexandria. We’d spent the day preparing our house as best we could for Hurricane Irene. Our backyard has drainage issues during any heavy storm, so we were concerned about water getting into our basement.

However we had made reservations at Geranio partly due to a nice looking prix fixe offer they had as part of Alexandria restaurant week. I called them in the early afternoon and they said they were going to be open. The worst of the rain wasn’t supposed to hit until late evening early morning, so we went. We took Gabriele’s Highlander – both the my BMWs were parked underground in anticipation of the storm.

We hadn’t been to Geranio for a long time. It’s been a fixture in Old Town for decades, and the food we had indicates why. The prix fixe was four courses, and I started with gnocci and mushrooms in a lemon cream sauce, Gabriele with bruschetta. Her bruschetta was very good, and I really enjoyed the gnocci. I don’t usually like cream sauces, but the lemon made the appetizer lighter than expected and delicious.

We both had very good penne with tuna, black olives and capers in a red sauce for the next course. For the main course Gabriele had a very good Pork Loin with polenta and crispy onions. I had the Osso Buco, one of my favorite Italian dishes. The veal shank was a little tougher in texture than some I’ve had, but it also had less fat than some and was very flavorful.

Service was very professional and efficient. I can’t say what service is like with a full house, since there were only a few other hardy souls beside us in the place due to Irene.  The only miss on the menu was Gabriele’s dessert, a pear and almond tart that was pretty tasteless. My tiramisu was excellent.

The wine selection was a bit challenging since Gabriele doesn’t like many Italian wines. The waiter brought out a taste of two wines they offer by the glass, and we chose the J.D. Vajra Langhe Rosso 2009. It opened with plum and alcohol on the nose, and was an easy wine to drink. It had a light body, easy tannins and some vanilla on the finish. Red cherry was the dominant fruit, and it was just a very pleasant wine. It wasn’t spectacular by any means, and the bottle should have been a bit cooler when delivered to our table. But a very enjoyable wine and one that is versatile with a broad range of dishes.

Geranio delivered a good meal right before Irene took our power away until mid-afternoon Sunday. You have to respect the staying power of the place, having been in its current location since 1978. The wine list is pretty extensive and appropriately almost all Italian. Go in with an idea of the type of Italian wine you like, and you’ll have a very good experience.


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