We’d stopped at La Cantera intending to eat somewhere else entirely, but, honestly, our noses led us to Bravo! Italian Restaurant. Emilio, an upbeat but not one of those over-the-top “I’m your new best friend” kind of servers, put us at ease that we’d made the right decision. His down-to-Earth attitude and deep knowledge of the menu were on display as he described Martini night to our small group. When stuck between two tempting choices, he was quick to offer suggestions. Just as we began to wonder where our drinks were, a basket of soft, steaming bread dotted with rosemary arrived, accompanied with dipping oils of sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and thyme.
Moments later, Emilio followed with a Chocolatini, Mojitini and Fruitini. The Chocolatini, while a wonderful drink with its Bailey’s Irish Crème in the mix, is best saved for dessert: sweet, chocolaty and delicious. The Mojitini was a nice refreshing martini, and its amaretto and Bacardi lured me in. Last but not least, the Fruitini. With a name like that, I didn’t expect it to pack such a punch, but that is no sissy drink. Bravo!’s seasonal drink features include an Apple Cider Martini (Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Brandy, and homemade apple cider) now officially on my “to try” list for next time.
Eventually we ordered and soup and salads appeared promptly. I couldn’t wait to try the lobster bisque, which the menu describes as a “rich, hearty cream soup finished with a touch of sherry and garnished with diced, poached shrimp.” It was as beautiful as it was buttery, with nice bits of lobster throughout — consistent without being overwhelming. A while later we had an array of food out in a reasonable, but not commendable, amount of time (they were not very busy for 6 p.m. on a Thursday). Pasta Pomodoro, Pasta Bravo!, and Chicken Parmesan Milanese arrived after several baskets of bread and requests to “keep that bread sauce comin’.” I loved all of these dishes. I was a little apprehensive of mine, the Pomodoro, with its caramelized onions, but I had to try it. Some restaurants do not seem to know the difference between a semi-raw, pungent onion; a perfectly caramelized one, soft and sweet; and a crunchy burnt shard. Bravo did it right, adding nice complexity to a dish of angel hair pasta, tomato sauce, and tender grilled chicken slices. Emilio boxed our leftovers as we awaited the arrival of a new friend: the dessert tray.
After much deliberation, and some of Emilio’s sound guidance, we decided on the Tre Dolce (three smaller portions of Tiramisu, Torta di Cioccolata, and Warm Berry Cake) and Pumpkin Crème Brûlée. The brûlée was offered as the dazzling offspring of pumpkin pie and crème brûlée. Sadly, it wasn’t the bundle of joy we expected. It was more pudding-like, with a delicate, but not overly sweet flavor. Favorites from the Tre Dolce, on the other hand, included the warm berry cake and tiramisu.
Overall, the food was great, our server was knowledgeable and helpful, but things seemed to take a little longer than we bargained for.
Bravo! Italian Restaurant
15900 La Cantera Parkway