Vegetarians at Sarino

 

We were the first people on the patio at the newly opened Sarino on Goss Ave., Louisville, KY.

But, by the time we left, the patio was full.

After all, it was seventy degrees in February. And, even in Louisville, separated from the bitter mid-western winters only by the Ohio River, a seventy degree day in February is an anomaly. So you have to take advantage of it.

We started with the panella, which turns out to be flat, fried chickpea cakes served with a lemon sauce, slightly sweet. These were delicious and imaginative. Perfect for vegans who haven’t given up on flavor.

We moved on the farro and arugula salad. Perfection! Perfectly dressed, balanced flavors. We ate it with the goat cheese, but this salad is rich enough for vegans. Just ask them to omit the goat cheese, and the farro (an Italian grain) and nuts come together to create a complete protein. You could eat this as your entree.

From there, honest vegans would have moved on to the pasta pomodoro which is your basic pasta and red sauce, the vegan’s usual fall back in Italian restaurants. There are two views about the basic spaghetti and red sauce dish. One view is “You can get that anywhere.” And the other view (mine) is “A dish this plain is the acid test of a restaurant.”

So we’ll have to get that next time. This time, we moved on to the Sicilian mushroom pizza. Technically vegetarian with two cheeses which I can’t pronounce. Here’s a quote from the menu: “san marzano tomato, fior di latte mozzarella, basil, mixed mushroom, kalamata olive, capers, cacio cavallo, caponata.”

This pizza was delicious. I heard the crime partner mumble some kind of favorable comparison to the Post’s pizza, but he wouldn’t repeat it. He did bestow the adjective “artisan” on our pizza.

Hey, as long as it’s got enough cheese, it’s pizza to me.

We got a bottle of sangiovese that was so good, I’m now mad at myself about not making more notes on it.

UPDATE (February 27, 2018):

The faro and arugula salad was, once again, a huge hit. You could easily make a full meal out of this.

My entree was made with radiatore, a spiral noodle, mixed with a delicious concoction of mashed peas, cheese, and other ingredients. (When you call it pea pesto, it sounds more glamorous.) The crime partner got a vodka cream sauce pasta.

I have to admire Sarino for reaching deep down into the canon of pastas for some unusual things. And I admire them for making their own pasta from scratch. Both our entrees were made with homemade noodles.

That said, both pasta dishes were too al dente and something was off on the flavor.

  • Three stars for pasta
  • Five stars for the salad and wine list
  • Five stars for atmosphere
  • Four stars for service

 

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