Monday, November 1, 2010

Mangia!

My Dad has been bugging me to try Mangia for awhile, as it is his current favorite Italian spot.  And since it now seems that I am on some sort of quest to find good Italian places in Indy, I agreed.  Dad loves the pasta Bolognese and orders it every time.  My brother-in-law also loves the lasagna at Mangia and considers it one of his favorite places as well.  Interestingly, the women (my Mom and sister) were not as hot on the place overall.
So it is another one of those strip mall places that always surprise me at the size of the inside.  It was maybe half full, but you feel like you are eating with other people so that is nice.  Our server was helpful and really could answer just about every question we had, which I really appreciate.  The pasta items ran around $15-20, the meat courses were between $18-23.

The first thing we got was the complimentary bread which was probably my favorite part of the meal.  It was a nice focaccia with a flavorful firm yet chewy crust.  They served it just with olive oil which I enjoyed with the bread.  For our starter, we shared the “Torta di Caprino,” or goat cheese pie.  I enjoyed this as well.  It was a layered, warm, firm mound of goat cheese topped with a gorgonzola cream sauce.  I enjoyed the slight kick from the gorgonzola sauce with the tangy goat cheese, although I would have preferred more gorgonzola flavor.  It was served with toasted and seasoned crostini which were really tasty, and when we ran out, the server happily brought us more.  The appetizer was good, and we enjoyed it.  For some reason, it sort of reminded me of eating an Italian version of spinach cheese dip that you see at so many restaurants these days.  Not exactly sure why, other than it was so cheesy.
Hubby and I split a salad as well. We went with the Insalata Mista which was mixed greens topped with tomatoes, black olives, gorgonzola and a balsamic vinaigrette.  I really enjoyed the salad (although there were very few black olives which sort of bummed me out).  The dressing was well done and it was a nice break in between the rich starter and main dishes.  They also split the salad for us, which I always appreciate.
For my main I tried the lobster ravioli.  I was intrigued by the description of a “bisque” sauce just because it sounded different.  I just get burnt out on marinara and cream sauces all the time.  It was topped with 4 nice sized shrimp as well.  The ravioli was a disappointment however.  There was no real flavor inside them (which the server told me are not housemade).  And while a bisque usually has a bit of tomato paste in it, this sauce just tasted like a tomato sauce to me.  I didn’t get any of the subtle flavors that one expects with a bisque.  The shrimp were fine, nothing really exciting about them, but they weren’t bad either.  All in all, I ate a few of them, and just went back to eating the bread. I enjoyed it more.


Hubby was also disappointed with his dish.  He tried the “Rosticciana” because it was sounded more unusual than most menu items in most Italian restaurants around town.  It was roasted pork loin stuffed with pancetta and mushrooms in a rosemary demiglace.  Unfortunately it was hard for him to really get a handle on whether it could be good, because the pork was so dry.    It was served with a side of garlic mashed potatoes that were really very good as well as some veggies in a tomato sauce (which were more like plate filler and not that good).
Like I said though, my Dad loves the spaghetti Bolognese.  It is a simple meat and tomato sauce served with quite a large portion of spaghetti.  He really likes the fact that there is enough meat and sauce to eat with all the spaghetti.  My brother-in-law’s lasagna was a huge portion topped half with marinara and half with cream sauce.  I didn’t try it, but like I said, this is one of their favorite places for these dishes.  Probably the best entrée on the table (in my opinion) was the “Pettine alla Brandy,” or scallops in brandy cream sauce.  The scallops were properly cooked and seasoned and the cream sauce had a little more depth of flavor than traditional cream sauces.  More of the garlic mashed potatoes here, which only added to making this the best dish of the evening.

We did share a couple of desserts.  The tiramisu was the one that sticks out in my mind because it was really quite good.  Our server told us that it was made in house. It had just the right amount of coffee flavor as well as nice creamy layers and just a sprinkle of chocolate on top.  It tasted fresh and had just the right amount of sweetness.  This was probably one of my favorite parts of the meal
as well.

All in all, though, as far as my quest goes, I am still looking… (Sorry Dad!)
Mangia!
11594 Westfield Blvd.
Carmel, IN 46032
317/581-1910



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Thanks, Erin