Escaping the Full Nest at Enoteca Sociale

The food: Roman cuisine at Enoteca Sociale

The story:

My two adult sons are home for the summer from their out of town universities. This is good, because we get to spend some quality time with them, during which they sometimes speak to us in more than grunts and monosyllables. But having a full house is a lot of work, what with the (somehow more than double amount of) extra cooking, dishwasher loads, and grocery procuring that is required to feed four adults instead of two.

So when they both went away to friends’ cottages on the same weekend recently, what a relief and delight it was for E and I to go out to dinner without them at Enoteca Sociale, a groovy new wine bar/restaurant at Dundas & Ossington in Toronto.

We sat on the patio:

and ordered a variety of small plates to share, as well as a “taste” of prosecco for me (only $4, though it really was just a taste) and an Italian beer for E, wine bar or no bar.

In keeping with my previously documented arancini fixation, I had to order the arancini with straciatella, carmelized onion and arugula ($12):

They were amazing – crispy on the outside, soft, moist and sweet inside. Possibly the best I’ve ever had.

We also had a panzanella salad of bread and tomatoes and basil ($7) which was just that. Fine but not something I’d order again (and no longer on the menu, so that’s easy.)

After discovering Roman-style chickpea fritters at Bar Stuzzichini in New York, I wanted to try Enoteca Sociale’s version ($15), and liked the complementary elements that came with the fritters – the lentils in particular gave the fritters zing.

And a simple and delectable small plate of cacio e pepe spaghetti ($12) satisfied my ever present need for pasta.

We were full enough after sharing those four somewhat starchy, fried, not inexpensive, and what do you know? all vegetarian dishes, but when we overheard the waiter telling someone at the next table that an item listed on the dessert menu as sfingi al’ enoteca ($8) was a type of made to order donut dusted with sugar and cinnamon, we made room for a plate of them. We loved every bite, and happily agreed that the caramel sauce and lemon curd that came with them were essential.

I’ve done a lot of waiting and worrying this summer. I waited for my sons to come home, waited to hear that they’d secured summer jobs, am right now waiting anxiously for confirmation of what they’ll be doing – away from home – this fall. And after eating at Enoteca Sociale, I’m waiting for one more thing: the chance to go back.

Enoteca Sociale on Urbanspoon

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