Al Dente Italian Ristorante - A Sensational Authentic Taste Adventure
Restaurant Review by Ken Stewart, The Guam Food Guy
"When in Rome, do as the Romans do" is an all-too-familiar quotation which offers sage counsel to global travelers. It is apt advice, as well, for culinary adventurers who explore the tables of the world for original native cuisine experiences. Fortunately you don't have to travel too far for an authentic Italian experience whose creator hails from Rome. Bravo to Chef Enrico Rodati, Chef de Cuisine of Al Dente at the Hyatt Regency Guam for a splendid menu selection of classic Italian favorites that will make your dinner a memorable pleasure that bears repeating.
Chef Rodati is a visiting 'chef on loan' from the Hyatt Regency in Osaka. The wonderful gift Chef Rodati has brought is a magical menu of delightful eats. Al Dente is currently running a month-long Mondavi celebration, and they are featuring a special wine pairing menu. Among the featured wines are a Danzante Pinot Grigiio and Danzante Sangiovesse.
To appreciate the breadth and scope of the types and styles of food comprising Al Dente's menu, I recommend that you go with a small group of dining companions and order appetizers and entrees that you can share. This is precisely what we did recently. Starting with appetizers, I ordered the Piatto di Antipasti Misti, (marinated shrimp, scallops, mussels, peppers, olives, salmon, vegetables, capers, and prosciutto $15). This was a superb way to "jump start" one's appetite. Another stand out was the Insalata di Spinaci Con Parmigiano E Pinoli (baby spinach with shaved parmesan, roasted pine nuts and sundried tomatoes with a citrus vinaigrette $9). This delivered everything promised by its elements.
If you haven't had an Al Dente pizza you are missing something as the pizza is truly terrific. Being baked in a brick hearth oven makes it perfect. We ordered several pizzas including a half "Margherita" (mozzarella,tomato & fresh basil) and half "Funghi con Pomodorol, Mozzarella E Salame Piccante" (mushrooms, spicy salami, tomato and mozzarella). This is the kind of pizza with thick stringy cheese and zesty marinara flavors.
Although Minestrone is a soup I really like and was on the menu, I opted for the Zuppetta Di Pesce Alla Mediterranea (Assorted seafood in a spicy fish broth-$9.50). This was flavorful with plenty of shrimp, mussels, scallops, calamari, and fish. The broth was exceptional - passionate and spicy!.
My main course was an extraordinary creation - Coda Di Bue Stufata Al Peperoncino Con Gnocchetti E Funghi (Chili Braised Oxtail 'Terrine' served with pumpkin gnocchi and herb flavored mushrooms $20.50). This was certainly a show-piece entree, and drew a few gasps of astonishment from my companions. It obviously was meticulously prepared and had a range of flavors and textures that demonstrated Chef Rodati's mastery of the art.
Entrees ranged from Pasta and Risotto choices, to live lobster, Angus Beef, Veal Escaplope and the delectable Lamb Chops which I sampled. On my next dinner visit I want to try the Lemon Grass marinated seabass fillet wrapped in parma ham and eggplant with a bean and mushroom ragout. Desserts and coffee with a fine aperitif are suggested options if you've managed to leave some room. They are an embellishment to the evening's magnificence.
Al Dente is open for lunch weekdays from 11:30am-2pm, and serves dinner 7 days a week, starting at 6pm and ending at 9:30pm. Al Dente is known for its attentive service and lively atmosphere that allows for cozy, intimate meals. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 647-1234.
(Attention foodies - On April 25 Al Dente will hold a special Mondavi Wine Dinner featuring a menu created by the culinary masters at the Hyatt. The chefs will prepare an exquisite five-course Degustation Menu of delicous cuisine and fine wine. A complimentary Illy coffee and cigar will be included for the $100.00 fee.)