My Fancy

by Marisa Olsen


My fancy. I’d like to offer a dining recommendations to all of my fans. Let me begin with Newport. Several years ago, my family celebrated the Thanksgiving weekend in Newport, RI. Naturally, my father extensively researched our dining choices and settled on The Mooring and Mamma Luisa’s. Lucky for me, I continue to be an avid lover of The Mooring, but have not revisited Mamma Luisa’s…until this weekend. My memories consisted of a long walk on Thames (thanks Richard), with skepticism and annoyance. When we arrived at the restaurant 30 minutes later (no exaggeration) after our pleasant jaunt, we were greeted by a non discrete house and a hokey sign bearing what I believe to be Mamma Luisa herself, swinging ever so slightly over the doorway. Once entering the threshold, the rest was history. The interior was cozy and romantic and the food wildly delicious. Seven years later, I trekked back, this time by car, and was no less impressed than I was the first time.

I always retained the fond memories of the restaurant and I was determined to experience ML before the winter season ended. I was on a mission. The last few months, I purveyed several locals, inquiring about their feelings towards the off the beaten track restaurant, and all feedback came back marvelous. I knew I was ready to re-experience the hokey house. We set the date for Saturday. Our outing included the Ball in Chain, his sis and her esteemed colleague (read: double date). We had previously pre gamed at The Reading Room, over a friendly game of pool, salted nuts and Chardonnay and were all excited to experience the restaurant I had so lived up. We began our order with a bottle of a Montepulciano; the wine menu was very wallet friendly, always key with a mid-20s something crowd. For appetizers, we settled on a goat cheese, roasted tomatoes and red pepper crostini and carpaccio bresaola over fresh greens and shaved parmesan. For entrees, we ordered a pork tenderloin with a béchamel and proscuitto sauce, pan seared sole, penne with spicy marinara and aged goat and homemade butternut squash ravioli with sage butter reduction. The winner of the pack was the ravioli. In addition, I ordered a salad that deserves the spot light as well; arugula and radicchio, goat cheese, whole dates, walnuts and balsamic vinaigrette. I was slightly disappointed with my penne. I was expecting fresh ricotta, enabling the dish to be creamy. Instead, ricotta salada was shaved onto the penne and the sauce tasted more like a puttanesca than the decadent creamy concoction I desired. I am still kicking myself over the Special, homemade truffled ravioli, one portion left. What was I thinking? Hours later, I was still kicking myself. Although I can't complain about the dessert. We chose a homemade cannoli with a chocolate and orange bit shell and home made tiramisu, which I am drooling for right now. Mamma Luisa’s is perfect for a 1 on 1 setting for a small group party. It is intimate, friendly and delicious and is perfect for that savory winter meal.