Checking in

In case you missed it, here’s my review (of sorts) for Pacific Grove’s newest hotspot, il Vecchio, that appeared in Thursday’s Go! section of the Monterey Herald. I’ll be reposting my reviews and stories from my weekly column for the Herald here on my blog along with extra photos that didn’t appear in print.

Completely by coincidence, I’ve found myself at Pacific Grove’s newest dining hotspot, il Vecchio, twice in the last week.

il Vecchio is easily one of the most talked about restaurants on the Monterey Peninsula.

With a month of dinner service under their belts, chefs Stefan and JoAnn have taken to trying out new menu items in the kitchen.

I tried the new salumi e formaggi plate ($8) last week. The cheeses were flavorful, especially the gorgonzola dolci — the same one they use to make the gorgonzola gnocchi.

The cured meats included a sweet salame and rich coppa. The artichokes were the only disappointment — they just didn’t have much pizzazz compared to the salty meats and rich cheeses.

This rigatoni was a weekly menu addition that made the cut for a full-time appearance on the dinner menu this October.

One of their weekly dinner specials — the rigatoni con spuntatura di maiale ($12) with braised pork ribs simmered in tomato sauce — evolved into a new dish on the menu, the rigatoni con sugo di salsicca ($12), now with pork ribs and sausage. It’s quite flavorful, with the pork adding a little oomph to the tomato sauce.

A delicious menu addition--so rich and creamy, but not heavy.

Last week’s addition, rigatoni al boscaiolo with sausage braised with mushrooms in white wine, green peas and cream ($12), was rich and flavorful, without feeling too heavy.

An unexpectedly spicy spaghetti fills in a missing gap in il Vecchio's menu.

The spaghetti aglio olio pepperoncino, with garlic, olive oil, hot chile and parsley ($10) adds some spice to the menu. The hot chilies weren’t overpowering, but left a subtle tingle in the back of your throat.

Pasta is certainly where il Vecchio shines — Stefan and JoAnn’s simple, humble preparations of rustic Italian classics make for the best plate of pasta in town. If you haven’t made it over to this new hotspot, definitely swing by soon.

il Vecchio is located at 110 Central Ave. in Pacific Grove. More information at 831-324-4282 or www.ilvecchiorestaurant.com

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