Warm, late summer dinners are best spent eating outside on the patio, and there’s something about the lush garden patio of Quattro Restaurant that drew me in. I think it’s the refreshing shade provided by all those trees and bushes, a coolness that I welcomed as I ate my Italian dinner at Q4.
The first dish to arrive was Arancini di Riso ($14.95) — Dungeness crab and rice croquette balls with a caper-lemon aioli. The thick, crisp croquette shell revealed an even denser, creamier mixture of crabmeat and arborio rice. Each bite sank to my stomach and filled me with a heaviness that the purely decorative, jaunty shaved fennel salad can’t lift. This was definitely comfort food, but with a very sophisticated presentation.
The second dish was a lot livelier. Truth be told, I was really surprised by how much I liked the Radicchio Bocconcini ($12.95). Its description in the menu is rather unassuming: grilled radicchio-wrapped mozzarella and prosciutto in a cherry vinaigrette. What the menu doesn’t reveal is how this dish arrives fresh from the grill — warm, juicy, plump, fragrantly-smoked. The tangy, cool cherry vinaigrette complements the warm and savoury mozzarella and prosciutto. The tender radicchio leaves a small bitter (but not unpleasant) aftertaste, especially soaked in the cherry vinaigrette. I’m salivating as I’m writing this. Out of all the things I’ve tried at Q4, the Radicchio Bocconcini is my favourite entree.
As an Italian restaurant, Q4 boasts many pasta choices, and if you come down on Monday and Tuesday nights, they have $10 pasta plates. Vegetarians would do well to order the Ravioli Piemontese ($22.95), which consists of 7 ravioli pieces fully stuffed with a lot of wild mushrooms, Mascarpone cheese, and white truffle oil in a light porcini cream. Q4 doesn’t skimp on the mushrooms, which makes this dish very rich and heady. To counter the potency of the mushrooms in this dish, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask your server for an equally potent glass of wine to help wash it down.
The house specialty is the mysteriously-named Spaghetti Quattro ($17.95). The menu states that it’s for “Italians only” and doesn’t provide any other description so my curiosity is piqued — of course I had to order it. What arrived was spaghetti with chicken, black beans, parsley, chilli, and a lot of garlic. If Q4 is more than generous with the mushrooms for the Ravioli Piemontese, then they had a similarly liberal approach with garlic in the Spaghetti Quattro. I probably repelled vampires within a five-mile radius after eating this.
Pasta is very filling, so make sure to leave room for dessert. Q4 offers four dessert selections, and every single one of them is worth stomach space. I was already so full that I could only choose one dessert for this meal. The Ciliege Filate ($8.50), aka Cherry Tart, consisted of crispy phyllo pastry with smooth and sweet mascarpone cheese, accented with the tart and chewy cherries on top. This dessert wasn’t overly sweet but light and balanced. I chose the ciliege filate out of all the other delicious desserts because it’s the most photogenic one — seriously, look at it. I don’t know how I devoured something so beautiful, but I managed.
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Last modified: August 18, 2010