Italian cuisine offers a vast variety, ranging from myriad pastas including lasagna, risotto and ravioli, meat main courses like picatta, pizza and breads, salads and some of the most delicious and rich desserts. Bene does an excellent job of representing as much of the cuisine and as many varieties of insalatas (green salads, seafood, marinated mushrooms, eggplant, etc.) and pastas as possible. It would take a more talented eater than myself to walk out saying they sampled every item of any one course of the brunch, much less starters, salads, mains and desserts! The dessert table, groaning under the weight of many tempting layers of decadent goodness, is alone worth the price of admission. The Tiramisu was one of the richest I’ve eaten anywhere, making a favorable comparison with Italian restaurants and home style Italian dining in the US. I would have loved to see cannoli, just because its a favorite dessert that I haven’t laid my hands on in over a year now, and because given the attention to detail of all there was, I am certain Bene’s iteration would not disappoint.
Right, now that I’ve got you fantasizing about desserts, let me go backwards, and talk about the main courses. The mains come to your table, made to order, so they are perfectly done in texture and taste, not sitting for hours in hot plates. I ate a very juicy mini steak served with a saffron aioli (garlic, olive oil, egg) sauce that still remains in my mind; it was a bright sulfur yellow, and the taste was as memorable as its color! I also partook of seafood ravioli in a lobster nage, chicken picatta on penne, a seafood skewer of grouper and prawn, and a risotto that was the only item that was not to my taste (too tomato-ey and not quite the texture I would expect).
At the end of two hours, I was stuffed beyond capacity and my senses sated. The live vocals and charming decor with patterned plates on the ceiling and walls, and art work made my eyes and ears as happy as my taste buds. Bene is quite a vast space, with 140 covers, and the crowd that Sunday included families (with cool looking glasses and straws for the kiddos’ beverages) as well as international guests. If there’s a special occasion to celebrate, I cannot think of a more perfect place than Bene to do so. Or if none comes to mind, still make Bene on a Sunday afternoon your destination-treat yourself!