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New favorite restaurant: Acquerello

I’m in love. Giddy as a schoolgirl. It’s been a long time since a restaurant has utterly swept me off my feet, maded me wrinkle my brow in wonder and then smile uncontrollably. Last night, I fell in love with Acquerello.

I’ve been eager to go to Acquerello for some time now. Many people have raved about it, especially the foodies and italophiles. Qualified praise, that. So I was thrilled when our friends Nick and Russ invited us to join them for dinner there with their friends Seth and Shadi. Apart from Nick, all of us were Acquerello virgins.

I’ll aspire to describe the evening as best as possible. I did not take any photos, despite recent guidance on how best to do so. I also wish I had gotten a rundown of the wines. Nick worked with the sommelier on the selections, and so I only know what we drank in broad strokes. But they were phenomal wines all.

Acquerello’s dining room is reminiscent of a Tuscan farmhouse or perhaps even a Romanesque chapel, with ochre- and siena-tinted walls and a vaulted ceiling of dark wood with a panted floral pattern. A large fresco on the far wall and numerous watercolor paintings (hence the name: "acquerello" means watercolor in Italian) round out the design. The overall effect is transportive, just edging on over-the-top yet still distinctly bearing the stamp of Italian aesthetic. Its warm and comforting atmosphere balances the formality of the place.

Notes on the dishes, wines and (perhaps most importantly) service after the jump.

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