Saturday, October 16, 2010

Iovino's -- I, uh, would go back here

Sometimes when you're dressed up, you want to go out and show everyone how good you look. On Thursday, I gave a presentation at a conference so a rarity occured...I was wearing a full suit. My suit was so fine, I made Sinatra look line a hobo.

DB~ called me up and said "Let's go out for dinner tonight." We agreed to meet in Mt. Lebanon at a restaurant that DB~ had been to before, but I had not, Iovino's on Beverly Road.

When I go out to restaurants, I try to get a dish that I either can't make myself or have never had before. I was debating between two dishes, one was a fairly straight-forward lamb ragu over papardelle (a style of noodle that I'm into recently -- a stronger noodle meant for heavier sauces) and the other was a bronzini dish with fried polenta.

I like to think that I'm well-versed in the ways of food and cuisine, but this trip to Iovino's made me realize how much more I have to learn and taste. I ordered the bronzini thinking it was a type of sauce served over the fried polenta, wilted arugula, tomato vodka sauce, and kalamata olive/red pepper relish. And then my dish came out to the table.

My dish is the darkened picture shown above. I was semi-stunned to see these criss-crossed, fish-smelling pieces resting on the bed of polenta triangelse and arugula. I poked it, prodded it, and cut a small biopsy piece for a taste. It tasted very similar to swordfish. DB~ pulled out the ever-present iPhone and Googled "bronzini". It turns out that bronzini is a Mediterranean seabass. It's a long, narrow silvery fish. I have never seen this at Wholey's or any other large fish market, so Iovino's may have had to special order the bronzini.

The bronzini itself was great, but the polenta was out of this world. It had a wide variety of spices and was tastefully crispy on the outside, but soft inside. I could have had a whole meal of just the polenta.

DB~'s meal was an Indian-flavored salmon with a red curry and coconut sauce surrounding it, served on a bed of basmati rice. Here's a picture of it:

The takeaway from this post should be how great and underrated of an area Mt. Lebanon is for eating. I've done posts on Kous Kous Cafe, Bistro 19, and now Iovino's. DB~ and I also went to Il Pizziaolo on Washington Road. It's worth crossing a river or two to check out any of these great restaurants in Mt. Lebo.


  1. I'm glad you're so humble. "My suit was so fine, I made Sinatra look line a hobo." ~

  2. PS--It might be good for readers to note that Iovino's is no longer BYOB...They (finally) got a liquor license...

  3. Hmmm....this intrigues me.

    So, is 'dinner attire' a requirement? Or was that just a happy accident due to the 'Sinatra shaming' threads?

  4. No, no. A suit is not required at Iovino's. Simply, for a change I looked really good and DB~ always looks good, so we wanted to go someplace kind of nice.

    Iovino's was on our short list of places to try.

    There are very, very, very few places anymore where dressing up is mandatory. That kind of sucks...casual Friday's invade even the nicest of restaurants now.