Thursday, August 30, 2007

Local Bistro is a Hidden Gem

Locally owned and operated Ninetta's Passion Bistro is a hidden gem. Tucked in a strip mall on the Northeast corner of 7th Ave & Union Hills road, you've probably never heard of it. The owner does advertising the old fashioned way - word of mouth. What the restaurant may lack in location and big-budget advertising it more than makes up for in truly yummy food and old-fashioned customer service.

From : "The cozy atmosphere, reasonable prices, spectacular food and personalized service makes this casual yet charming restaurant fabulous."

When I visited with a couple of girl friends on a weeknight, the owner (Marco) himself greeted us at the door. He was our waiter, sommelier and charmed us utterly. His wife, Ninetta, takes kitchen duties. She features local & regional food and wine as often as possible. These people love food and it shows.

The food was delectable! Bruschetta appetizer featured fresh, vibrant tomatoes that actually tasted like tomatoes; imagine that. The Zuca Zuca Zuca (butternut squash filled ravioli in sage butter sauce) was so good my girl friend said she wanted to lay down and roll around in it. We used bread bites to sop up the butter sauce and had to restrain ourselves from licking the plate! The Tilapia Emilio was perfectly cooked and the Chicken Picatta had a wonderful mix of lemon & capers. Ninetta herself sent over a dessert featuring chocolate & fresh berries that pretty much sent we 3 amateur foodies over the edge.dessert

I added myself to their mailing list and get periodic calls from the owner personally inviting me to dinner/wine events, which all feature live entertainment.

Ninetta's Passion Bistro, 814 E Union Hills, 623.434.8967

Update, Spring 2008: Marco is such a cutie. He calls me personally to invite me to his Prix Fixe dinners. Once when I told him last fall that business had been off and I'd need a boyfriend to spring for the $75 a pop price, but was lacking said boyfriend at the time, .... Marco actually called back the next day and tried to fix me up with another regular patron of his who had similarly just broken up with someone. It was adorable! By that time I was booked already but the idea of it was so cute that I nearly went. Imagine having a local restaurant where the staff actually knows your name and cares about your life! It's almost Normal Rockwell-y.