As N and I pointed the car towards downtown, I had Jonathan's reopening on my mind. Earlier in the week, I heard a rumor that they would open the day before, but when we drove by the lights were off and the chairs were up (they opened 2 days later). In an uncharacteristic move, N made the snap decision to park and and eat at DaVinci's.
At 7:30 PM on a Wednesday, the bar was packed and buzzing with lively conversation. The manager/owner(?) was engaged with a couple of regulars on their way out. The two of us looked around, my impatient side wondering if we should just seat ourselves. Just as I was about to tug N to a table, the owner wrapped his conversation up and greeted us.
He handed us over to a friendly waiter who led us to a table in the loft with a view of the downstairs. Both of us took our time browsing the menu, since it was our first time. We decided on an appetizer of smoked lox and an entree of Osso Bucco and risotto. Both of us ordered a glass of their house Cabernet after I remembered Rebekah remarking on how much she liked hers during our happy hour visit.
N and I enjoyed our wine and the complimentary flatbread with garlicky dipping oil, while checking out the details of the building. (How I love date night!) Our servers were attentive, but not overly so. Our appetizer arrived. So beautiful on the plate! (I apologize for not snapping photos.) Six rolled bites of lox and cheese surrounded by leaves of baby spinach, drizzled with a sweet sauce. Delicious!
When our plates of Osso Bucco arrived, I couldn't wait to see how it would measure up against what we've eaten in the past. It was tender--nearly fall off the bone tender and the flavor was good, but it was cold in the center. The meat was tasty and we enjoyed it, but it wasn't as good as what we consider the best we've had (at Amadeus).
While sitting and enjoying the atmosphere, I had the feeling most of the diners were loyal regulars. I'm not sure why. Maybe it was how comfortable they looked or how they seemed so familiar with the waitstaff. I believe the atmosphere provided by an owner is key in a restaurant's success. Yes, there are other important factors, but sitting back and enjoying a space that was created to make your experience not just about what's on your fork but also what's in front of your eyes? That can make paying the tab seem a bit more worthwhile.
:: Dinner Hours ::
Monday-Thursday 5:00-9:00 pm
Friday & Saturday 5:00-10:00 pm
:: Happy Hour ::
Monday-Friday 4:30-6:00 pm
Saturday 9:00-10:00 pm
:: Closed Sundays ::
180 High Street SE
Salem, OR 97301