Dinner and a View.
Caruso's is now closed
My dining partner and I arrived at Caruso's Italian Cafe on a warm weekday evening. Our reservation was scheduled at 7 PM, but we came early to take a leisurely walk around Staats Lake.
With our appetites successfully worked-up, we entered the front doors of Caruso's where the hostess greeted us. She guided us through the lobby into the elegant dining room toward our table- a small two-seater, next to the window, overlooking the lake. So far, so good.
The dining room is separated from the kitchen by a service area with two doors. Soft music and conversation made for good background noise. The atmosphere was lively and very pleasant.
We browsed through the menu as ice-water was poured. Caruso's offers a variety of appetizers, ranging from $7 to $10. Entree selections include pasta, chicken, veal, red meat, and seafood, priced from $15 to $32.
Our server introduced herself and explained the specials. My ears perked-up as soon as she mentioned the Smoked Salmon Cannelloni. Each entree at Caruso's comes with a choice of a house salad or the soup of the night. Although the Minestrone sounded good, we both chose the house salad.
Just minutes after placing our order, the first course appeared at our table, along with four slices of warm baguette and garlic dipping oil. Our salads consisted of romaine lettuce tossed in a creamy vinaigrette dressing with croutons and Parmesan cheese. The portions were spot-on for a first course, and the flavors were divine. The dressing boasted a sweet/acidic kick, while the garlicky croutons and cheese provided some depth.
The main course was ready shortly after we finished our salads. My partner enjoyed Pollo alla Tuscana ($20)- a grilled chicken breast served with Fettuccine Alfredo and creamed spinach. I ordered the special Smoked Salmon Cannelloni ($18)- two large pasta tubes stuffed with cheese and smoked salmon, baked in both béchamel and tomato sauces, also served with creamed spinach.
The rich, creamy stuffing in the cannelloni was excellent. It tasted lightly of salmon with smoky overtones. My partner was equally impressed with her dish. She noted the intense cheesy flavor of the fettuccine, and hints of rosemary in the chicken breast. And the creamed spinach was to die for!
No dessert tonight. We were stuffed! Another lap around the lake?
It's a rare treat to have such friendly and attentive service, combined with great food and a good price. But Caruso's pulled it off. No complaints here.