Here’s to actually venturing off the peninsula for once

9 Sep
So ok guys, I felt like I was in a little bit of a rut for a while there. I have a tendency to live by the philosophy that “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” so I don’t venture out and try new places very often. I really don’t mean to repeat places but I just get stuck in that comfort zone of Anson, Coast, Hall’s, Mercato, Muse, etc. and it’s hard to go out and try someplace new. However, Patty is determined to grab me by the proverbial shoulders and shake out my agoraphobic nature for good. She made me go to Al di La the other night. I know it may sound like I was forced under duress to go there but that’s actually far from the truth. Let’s elaborate:
First off, I just got the Droid X and it is fantastic. I can forgo my bulky, cumbersome 10.1 MP Panasonic camera and still get fantastic pictures. However, this was not really the case the other night. It decided to be a real dill hole and not save the first few pictures I took. Come ON Verizon Wireless, the whole reason why I bought the phone with the 8 MP camera is so that I wouldn’t have to drag out my camera every time I want to go out for dinner. There is absolutely no way that camera is fitting in my clutch. Needless to say, the pictures that I took of the exterior (which was all lit up beautifully with twinkle lights on the patio) and the picture of our appetizer (prosciutto wrapped figs stuffed with gorgonzola) didn’t save and therefore no longer exist. Which is heinously uncool.
All the camera/phone drama aside, I can confidently say that I had a fantastic experience at Al di La. The place is truly a neighborhood treasure, just right off Savannah Highway in fun, local-friendly Avondale west of the Ashley. Honestly, I don’t venture off the peninsula very often and I get a little mad at myself because of this. Why wouldn’t I drive 3 miles away for great northern Italian food? There aren’t a whole lot of places downtown that offer this delectable cuisine (well there are, but I’m picky when it comes to Italian so I don’t really like all that many of the restaurants downtown all that much). So I went out of my comfort zone with Patty two nights ago.
I can really tell that Al di La has maximized the space they’ve been given. Upon first glance, it’s a swanky, sophisticated, relatively sexy space. They capitalize on truly great decor because it’s obvious that they know the value of a great atmosphere. For a place with concrete walls and a vaulted exposed ceiling, it’s elegant. In terms of the service, I was greatly impressed. For the life of me I can’t remember the name of our server but all of her suggestions were spot on. I previously mentioned the prosciutto wrapped figs and yes, they were delicious. Unfortunately for both you and myself, no such picture exists. So in that case, let’s skip right to the food.
Patty’s dish: prosciutto wrapped chicken breast stuffed with wild mushroom risotto and asparagus tips. WOW. The broth was light and delicious and really did the chicken justice. It was just moist enough with the risotto in the center and the prosciutto added a mild salty element that was truly delicious. It had a slight sweet and salty juxtaposition that was just prevalent enough without being heavy or too in your face with the flavors. Overall, a delicate dish that could have been very easily overdone just based at the individual elements. Extremely successful, I would order this next time.
So I got the tagliatelle with duck confit, porcini mushrooms, and truffle oil. I could tell that the noodles were homemade and I have to admit it was really delicious. However, the sauce was a little heavy for me to eat everything in one sitting. I needed to order a glass of chianti to counteract the richness of the sauce, which was fine because honestly who complains about having to order a glass of wine? POOR ME. I did enjoy it just as much when I finished it for lunch the following day. Overall, yet another successful dish with a rich, bold flavor. I would recommend this definitely with a big red on a chilly fall evening.
And who can go for Italian without dessert?
Tiramisu. Tear my heart out. Omg, it tasted like something fresh from nonna’s kitchen. Homemade without being pedestrian, just the perfectly rustic tiramisu that I can’t seem to find anywhere downtown.
And honestly I don’t really recall what this was, some sort of gelato perhaps? I am awful. Regardless, I do remember it being quite good. Not as good as the tiramisu, but good nonetheless. 
Overall, yes. Yes. Yes. Those all answer the questions you were just asking me in your head. 
“Should I go there?”
“Was it memorable?”
“Would you go back?”
Take the plunge off the peninsula as I did. You will thank me. Bless.

Al Di La on Urbanspoon

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2 Responses to “Here’s to actually venturing off the peninsula for once”

  1. Robert September 10, 2010 at 1:12 am #

    Al Di La is a great one, and definitely worth that long, long drive over the West Ashley bridge. That last dessert picture looks fantastic.If you're up for even more adventures far (that is, about three miles) from downtown, head North over the Ravenel bridge to Bacco. The chef trained at Al Di La before striking out on his own, and his restaurant is completely different but totally wonderful, too. The fresh-made mozzarella is worth WALKING over the Ravenel bridge for.

  2. Suzanne September 10, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    OOOh awesome tip! I will definitely have to check them out! And I'm glad that you understand my pain of leaving downtown for dinner.

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