Now, I’m going waaaaaaaaay back to last summer to blog about this little adventure because I’m sure Christine is annoyed that I’ve managed to omit this dinner from my posts. Christine and I visited The Grand Pizzeria and Bar twice this past summer. She has already blogged about our first dinner. I think she also went with friends at another time, but alas, I wasn’t invited. *tear*
Anyway, we decided after our first dinner that the Mercato pizza (arugula, prosciutto, parmigiano) was our absolute favourite and that we would order this every time we dined at The Grand. There were less toppings than the last time, but the balance of thin, salty prosciutto, peppery arugula, and parmigiano stink was still delicious. It has been six months – entirely my own fault, I admit – so I’ve clearly forgotten any other details.
Since we knew the pizzas were bound to be good, I was curious about the quality of the pasta dishes. Before ordering the Bucatini alla Amatriciana (bucatini, guanciale, pecorino), I asked our waiter whether or not the pasta was freshly made in-house. My uncle had mentioned earlier that they were buying the pastas from a local vendor in the Byward Market until they were ready to make it in-house. The waiter was a little flustered by my question, but answered confidently that they were purchased from a little shop in the Byward Market. I really wish I had found out which store, so I could buy some for myself!
Back to the pasta. It was a lip-smacking slurpfest for me (Christine wasn’t feeling the love from the dish as much as I was). I loved how the pasta was cooked perfectly and how the freshness came through in its flavour. As mentioned earlier, my mum spoiled us this summer with fresh, eggy pasta, so I became accustomed to the texture and flavour of pasta made on the same day. I had never eaten bucatini before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I immediately fell in love with the tubular pasta. Each bite allowed a little bit of sauce to squish into the tube, spreading the flavour. Oh, and the flavour! Salty and peppery, the guanciale was diced into small cubes, which provided a contrast in texture.
My only complaint is that I didn’t notice the cheese at all (it just melted into tiny blobs) and that I found the dish quite greasy as a whole. It wasn’t so greasy as to give me heartburn, but greasy enough that my lips had a bright orange slick of oil from the pasta afterwards.
For dessert, we ordered the espresso-soaked tiramisu, perfect for cutting through the pork-laden pasta. I think we also had the pistachio gelato.
It has been over six months since this dinner, so I’m sure a lot has changed with their menu. I can’t wait to revisit it, now that The Grand has been established as one of the best places to dine in Ottawa!