Wednesday, October 29, 2008


One of downtown Anchorage's nicer eateries is Orso - a modern Italian restaurant of the funky-chic style. Last weekend, Mr Eating Alaska and I went there for dinner to celebrate our 13th anniversary. We arrived earlier than our reservation time, but they had no problem seating us a bit early. We had a short wait, though, which we passed in the bar. Mr EA had a Cuba Libre and I had a gin Martini, both of which were very tasty and reasonably priced.
We started dinner with a cheese plate, which consisted of well-chosen cheeses artfully presented, and Orso's signature appetizer of bread and very garlicky hummous. Mr EA's entree was a steak, mashed potatoes and crisp-fried onion strips. His steak was perfectly done and very tasty, as were his accompaniments. I had pasta with a sort of minimalist sauce, which was also very good. I challenged the waiter a bit by asking for wine and letting him bring whatever he thought would complement the dish. I know virtually nothing about wine and find that sometimes this approach brings decent results (of course, some times it results in hideous disasters, but you pays your money and you takes your chances.) In this case I was rewarded for my trust - the wine he brought went perfectly with my pasta. Mr EA says "They put on a good show."

Then by strange chance, I went there with a group of coworkers for lunch today - it was my boss's birthday - so I had a chance to sample a few more of their things. We ordered appetizers of Caprese salad and calamari to share. I tried the calamari, which made me feel very brave, and found it pretty good. It did not have a lot of taste, but I am told it is a texture food - it was quite tender and not rubbery at all. The Caprese salad was delicious - although I have trouble imagining how it could possibly be screwed up. Then for actual lunch I had a sandwich of more fresh mozzarella and some prosciutto, which was OK but not stunning, and a curry pea soup which was delicious.
This second visit confirmed my initial opinion, which is that Orso is has great atmosphere, great service, good food and reasonable prices for this level of restaurant. All in all, a good bet for a nice meal.

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