First Bites: Vignola/Cinque Terre

Vignola/Cinque Terre has been on my to-chew list for quite awhile now. More recent reviews from friends and local press prompted me to finally book on OpenTable. Incidentally they were holding a special prix fixe menu that evening with wine pairings, though no additional discount applied for somebody like me choosing to omit the vino.

The lineup of dishes featured pork products from the restaurant’s affiliate Grand View Farm. The antipasti was probably the highlight, but that’s all relative. The consistent issues I had throughout this meal were textural in nature. While I really enjoyed how well-flavored the sauce was, the pasta in the second course was noticeably chewy. I really struggled to find an enjoyable component in the porchetta course. Only one small round spot on the meat had any tenderness to it, the rest was quite fatty and I found the tasks of cutting and chewing to be cumbersome. The pork rinds were a bit reminiscent of packing peanuts in feel and taste (or so I would imagine). Maybe that is the norm for pork rinds, but I definitely did not think it offered anything to elevate the dish. Dessert was seasonally appropriate, but not necessarily a standout. It tasted fine, but almost felt like an amuse-bouche with only a couple of bites worth on the plate. Despite all the hype, this was a pretty disappointing meal. I am willing to give Vignola the benefit of the doubt since these dishes were not part of their usual repertoire, which is a pity because everything sounded great on paper.

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Antipasti: Mortadella, pork rillette, country-style pork terrine

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Primi: Swiss chard-stuffed ravioli, heirloom tomato, Guanciale (cured pork jowl), Parmigiano Reggiano

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Secondi: Porchetta, polenta, smoked delicatta squash, roasted carrot, garlic jus

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Dolce: Spiced bread budding, apple compote, caramel semifreddo

~NOMaste

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