Last night for my birthday dinner we went to Serghei.
It is a tiny, there are only seven tables in the whole place, family run restaurant. There was only one man running the front of the house and a few ladies in the kitchen - two of which appeared as though they could be the nonne (grandmas) of the family.
We had heard that the restaurant served home-style (think like your Italian grandma made it), traditional Bolognese food. Andrea had even heard from a local reporter that the tagliatelle con ragù was the best in Bologna. We went hungry and were excited to try this new to us restaurant.
The inside is decorated with knick knacks ranging from on old radio to a guitar propped in the corner and an old advertisement for a Singer sewing machine and many, many bottles of wine some which appear to be quite old. If the Italian grandma was suppose to be in the kitchen then the dining room felt like grandpa's den.
|The decor was warm and welcoming. It immediately made us feel relaxed and at home.|
This is one of those types of restaurants that do not have a printed menu, always a good sign that the food will be fresh. Before the waiter even had a chance to tell us any of the options for the first course, we ordered the tagliatelle con ragù (if you are not familiar, tagliatelle are long, flat noodles and the ragù is a meat sauce which outside of Bologna is referred to as Bolognese sauce). We had to try it to see if it lived up to the hype. Apparently, its reputation proceeds it because when we walked in each of the five people at the table next to us had a plate of tagliatelle in front of them. We also ordered the tortelloni di zucca (pumpkin) with a butter and sage sauce (always one of my favorites). And of course a bottle of red wine - a Barbera d'Alba (also a favorite of mine).
|The waiter was very nice and split the two pastas for us (tagliatelle is on the left and the tortelloni di zucca is on the right).|
The tortelloni were delicate and refined. The texture of the pumpkin filling was silky as was the butter coating each piece of pasta. The sweetness of the filling contrasted perfectly with the saltiness of the parmiggiano.
The tagliatelle were perfectly cooked with a bit of a bite remaining. The slight variation in the width of the noodles revealed that they were most likely made by hand by the ladies in the kitchen (fatta a mano). The flavor of the ragù was full and round and it coated the noodles nicely without being oily.
For the second course, Andrea ordered the roasted chicken and I ordered the stinco di maiale (which is the lower part of the pig's leg).
|My stinco was so huge it absolutely dwarfed Andrea's chicken.|
Andrea's chicken was good but not anything incredible. My stinco, however, was excellent. It had been braised in Barbera wine and as soon as I plunged my fork into it the meat fell off the bone. The meat was tender and juicy and full of flavor. The Bolognese know how to do pork!
|I was very satisfied with my caveman portion of meat.|
|A little pause was definitely needed between the second course and dessert.|
For dessert we ordered creme caramel and mascarpone with chocolate sauce, crumbles of almond cookie and Amaretto.
The creme caramel was okay but could not hold a candle to the mascarpone (which actually had a candle in it when it arrived to the table due to Andrea's request). The mascarpone was amazing - perfectly smooth with little bursts of crunch due to the pieces of cookie. The chocolate sauce was rich and a little bitter providing a nice contrast to the buttery, rich flavor of the mascarpone. And then I found the pool of Amaretto, which I guess I had missed the waiter mentioning in the description of the dessert because it came as a very happy surprise to me, at the bottom of the cup and I had to refrain myself from loudly exclaiming "OH YUM"!
We were very happy with our dinner and we would gladly return again to celebrate another special occasion.