Friday, February 2, 2007

South American Pasta?

Feeling a need for good food and good company, Shayla and I headed to El Caminito, a cute, fairly new little Argentinian restaurant downtown. I'd been once before, with my parents, right after it opened, and remembered it as being fine but unremarkable. But given Shayla's history in Argentina, it seemed worth a shot.
When we walked in the door (and out of the cold, thank goodness) I was slightly startled to find that there were only 3 or 4 other people in the small, warmly painted dining room. The menu is fairly limited to what seems to me an odd collection of foods-- about 2 thirds of the dishes are beef/chicken/other meat grilled and served with vegetables and a starch, sometimes with a sauce of some kind. The other options are pastas, which confused me until Shayla affirmed that Argentina is home to many Italian immigrants who bring their native culinary traditions. We both ordered a glass of wine-- mine was a lovely red, which, for only $5, provided a pleasant buzz. We split an appetizer of proscuitto-wrapped asparagus-- 2 bundles of 3 perfectly grilled stalks each, covered with light, well-seasoned breadcrumbs and parmeseans cheese, all swimming in an appropriately tart lemon butter sauce. Quite good. For my main, I cheated a little and ordered another appetizer-- 6 satisfyingly al-dente, large ravioli stuffed with cheese and lobster meat, topped with a spoonful of springy tomato-basil salsa, all spread on a plate with a wonderfully salty brown butter and rosemary sauce. I've discovered I really like brown butter. Hell, I really like butter most of the time.

Overall, dinner was great. A little overpriced, perhaps, but worth it for the most part. Service was fine-- a few more people eventually trickled into the restaurant, but it never got crowded. I wish there had been bread-- you know how I feel about bread. Its a fine place, but with all the other amazing options in Noho, I would be inclined to over-spend someplace else.

Caminito Argentinian
7 Old South St.
Northampton, MA 01060 (the web account is currently suspended. go figure.)

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