Sunday evening at Caruso's.
My girlfriend and I reserved a table at Caruso's Italian Cafe late Sunday evening.
We entered the front door into the waiting area, where we were greeted by the hostess. She directed us to a table in the center of the main dining room, overlooking Staats Lake in Keizer.
We have eaten at Caruso's many times. But each time we visit, we find ourselves admiring the simple, elegant decor of the restaurant. The walls are a golden-yellow color, while the window frames and columns are painted black. The table settings maintain this theme with black linens, dark yellow napkins, and candles.
After a few minutes of reading the menu, we both decided to order the Osso Buco- bone-in veal shank braised in a sherry and tomato sauce, served over saffron risotto. We both chose salads for our first course.
The salads were delivered to our table, along with warm baguette and garlic infused olive oil. The salad consisted of romaine hearts and mesclun greens, tossed in a flavorful and well-balanced balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Garlicky croutons were included as well. The olive dipping oil had a an unusually light flavor, enhanced by the garlic and herbs.
Upon finishing our salads, the main course appeared within the next 5 or 10 minutes. The veal shank sat on a bed of risotto with sauce cascading down the sides of the meat. Our forks were perfectly adequate in removing the meat from the bone. The meat was extremely tender. The risotto was cooked with cream and Parmesan cheese, infused with the golden color and bitter taste of saffron. The risotto was quite tasty.
For dessert, we decided to share the Lemon Genoise Cake and a cup of coffee. Layers of tender genoise, lemon curd, and whipped cream, gave this dessert a wonderful texture and composed flavor. The sourness of the lemon cut into the sweetness of the sugar, while providing a great counter balance to the rich cake. One of the best desserts we've had!
Overall, our experience at Caruso's was delightful. The service was friendly and polished, and the food matched with deep flavor and balance.
Visit their website to see the menu.
Caruso's Italian Cafe & Catering
5745 Inland Shores Way, Keizer OR