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


Anonymous said...

To the above comment, I have eaten at DaVinci's many times for dinner, and many happy hours, and have found the food on Fridays and Saturdays for be complex, tasty, perfectly cooked. Downright delicious! I have, however, been sadly disappointed on any weeknight I have been for dinner. What I wonder is, do they have a relief chef during the week, and the top notch one on the weekend?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that for those of us on a budget they have a special bar food menu that starts at 7pm, too! It's in between happy hours but the deals are still awesome. We were in recently on a weekday night for cocktails at the bar and had a mini calzone (sooo good) and what were called pasta pouches for about $6 each. The pasta was filled with mushroom and cheese and served buttery and tender... it was so good. I could have eaten six plates of those babies.

Also spied a pear bellini on the menu and it was fabulous and well-priced. Get yourself down here for some cheap eats that are amazing and tasty! Some of the best bar food in town by a LOT.


Chuck Bradley said...

I’ve always liked the atmosphere here. So I’m puzzled as to why it’s been so long since we’ve been back.

Tonight I took She who must be obeyed and our wonderful granddaughter Whitney for dinner. They each had their Seafood Fettuccine (Tiger Prawns, Maine Scallops, sautéed tomato in creamy Garlic Sauce) and I had Seared Maine Scallops, Wild Mushrooms and Truffle Butter over Pappardelle Pasta and Asiago Cheese. We ordered half size portions as Carol and I had eaten big lunches. I chased mine with a decent glass of Pinot Grigio and the ladies finished with a shared Cream Brule. I think we’re all in agreement that the food did not disappoint. Matthew, our server was a charming apparition when we needed him and a ghost when we didn’t. An impressive blend of skill and aptitude.

What a perfectly delightful evening with two of my favorite people in all the world.

Chuck Bradley said...

Oops! Crème brûlée! Guess I’m just hooked on phonics!

Anonymous said...

Davinci's new menu is awesome.