Friday, November 17, 2006

Italian with a Middle Eastern flair. I had a very busy day, and Dad didn't leave the house so we decided to go afield for a little gastronomic adventure for dinner this evening. I drove to San Rafael, and recalled that there were a number of interesting restaurants further north on fourth street than I usually venture. When we drove to the north end, I noticed Hanna's and remembered a great meal there from my pre-blogging days and asked Dad if he were in the mood for Italian. He concurred so we stopped in at Hanna's which was already busy at 7 p.m. with Friday night diners. Who I later discovered to be the owner, Mr. Hanna Anki, warmly greeted us and we were seated in the wine bar area as the restaurant was full. It was a bit more bustling than would be a restful meal in that location, however, the plus side was that I had a great view of all the dishes coming out of the kitchen which looked very well executed.

Dad & I both started with the Fatoush Salad, a lightly dressed romaine salad with cucumbers tomatoes, feta cheese (was so smooth I suspect it was French Feta), and crunchy pita triangles. It was a light, crisp and flavorful start to the meal.

I followed that with the intriguing sounding "Pork Loin Scallopini - With ginger orange creame sauce". The pork cut was the loin, thinly cut, but short of what I would consider "scallopini" thickness. It was nicely seared so the juices caramelized on the outside and left the center tender. The saffron rice was a nice accompaniment, and the sauce was not a coat-the-spoon type, but a thinner flavorful cream. The broccoli was cooked crisp-done, and retained its nice green color. You'll notice that this presentation is more of a family-style look rather than the haute cuisine which would likely have the sauce more decoratively placed on the plate.

Dad enjoyed the tender lamb shish-kababs over saffron rice and flat bread. He enjoyed the yogurt-cucumber dipping sauce as well. Hanna's has the lived-in air of a well-loved neighborhood restaurant. Nice garden green entrance, cheerful lights outlining the windows, and candles on every table. It's a place where you are not afraid to come laugh out loud with your friends and enjoy the warmth of Mediterranean hospitality. I'll definitely not wait so long to return this time!

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