Casa Di Giorgio: Impressive Italian in Franklin
Gnocchi, pastas merit a visit
The first room in
Casa Di Giorgio provides a charming bar, a dining area with several windows and
a fireplace. The second room adds more tables and booths, along with décor that
hints at an Italian garden—a tad frilly, perhaps, but it provides a soothing
aura. Choose a table instead of a booth, as the seats—rattan chairs with curved
backs—are more comfortable.
A menu will soon arrive—actually,
make that three menus, plus a wine list. The wine list seems small for a
restaurant of this type. Still, there are nearly 20 choices by the glass. The
first food menu includes the standard items and it alone is quite lengthy. The
second consists of specials that change from time to time. The third offers the
specials of the day. As the name implies, the bulk of the items at Casa Di
Giorgio are Italian, along with a few steaks, king crab and lobster thrown in.
In addition to entrees you will find more affordable options in salads, paninis
and thin-crust pizzas.
Starters on the
standard menu include items like toasted ravioli, calamari and eggplant strips.
The specials offer seafood like mussels, oysters and escargot. One visit also
found vongole ripiene, stuffed clams sold by the half-dozen ($9.95) or the
dozen ($15.95). Cherrystone clams are stuffed with bread crumbs with chopped
parsley, garlic and a hint of lemon juice. This is where the kitchen moves into
high gear. On the flip side, pass on the complimentary basket of warm bread, as
it does not live up to the items on the menus.
Entrees include soup
or salad. The soups are good enough, though they are not especially Italian
with choices like clam chowder and chicken vegetable. French onion soup on the
specials menu costs extra. The house salad is the better pick, offering fresh
leaf lettuce and the usual cast of cucumbers, carrots, red onions and a tomato
slice. The suitable Italian dressing is prepared with red wine vinegar.
Pastas fare very
well here. Wild mushrooms porcini ($13.95) appeared as a lunch special.
Restaurants often try to pass off portobello mushrooms as “wild,” but not at
Casa Di Giorgio. There are at least five types of mushroom with this homemade
porcini pasta, which is similar to linguine. Seasoned with porcini mushroom
broth and a few herbs, this makes for a decent dish. But the standard menu goes
one better with the gnocchi alla Genovese ($14.25), perfectly cooked potato
dumplings. Slices of chicken breast are fully at home here.
steak Siciliano ($24.95) could be better. It is served with sautéed mushrooms,
tricolor peppers and some grated cheese, but the coating of bread crumbs adds
little flavor, especially to overcooked meat. A neighboring table opted for
filet mignon ($25.95) and envious eyes saw a thick piece of meat charred on the
outside and rare in the middle—a vastly superior choice.
Though the lunch
menus are smaller, they are still substantial. Prices can be considerably lower
as well—a petite filet is just $9.95.
All in all, Casa Di
Giorgio is one of the best Italian restaurants in the area. It merits a visit
for the gnocchi alone.
Casa Di Giorgio
3137 W. Rawson Ave., Franklin
Credit Cards: MC, VS, AX
Handicap Access: Yes