19 September 2009

Review: Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano

Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano, located inside Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s this restaurant is hidden behind Muppet Vision 3-D. We had our reservation scheduled for 3:30 pm so that we could take advantage of the Fantasmic! Dinner Package, which includes preferred seating at the show. The restaurant is brick walled with many booths which gives it a warm cozy feel.

Our server, Emily quickly greeted us and took our drink order. We had decided to give some of the cocktails a try. I went with Strawberry Basil Lemonade ($9.25) and my husband had the Antioxidant Cocktail ($9.25). Both were pretty good.

After several minutes of looking over the menu and the 9 appetizers we made our decision to start off with the Mozzarella and Tomatoes ($7.99) with marinated sweet onions, fresh sweet basil and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This was very good. Light, refreshing and it had just the right about of balsamic. The Crispy Calamari ($9.99), topped with onions and pepper and served with marinara sauce, which we also ordered was a very large portion and wasn’t chewy and rubber-bandy like calamari can sometime be. The breading was light and crispy.

About this time the baby at the table next to us started crying. This however didn’t stop the entire meal. For over 45 minutes they sat there with the baby crying, instead of mom or dad getting up and walking outside and trying to calm the baby down, they did nothing. Not the most pleasant way of enjoying our very late lunch.

The two entrees we had chosen were the Pork Marsala ($21.99) and Wood-grilled Salmon ($20.99). The Pork Marsala, pan-seared pork tenderloin served over mushroom risotto topped with parmigiano-reggiano and marsala sauce served with asparagus spears. Now this didn’t not appear to look overly appetizing, however, this did taste good. The pork was a little over-cooked and the mushroom risotto was a little bland and after having dined at Le Cellier it left a little to be desired. The Wood-grilled Salmon on the other hand, was delightful. The salmon, tender and flaky was topped with a sun-dried tomato pesto and served over Puttanesca Ragu (a spicy sauce made with tomatoes, onions, garlic and olives). This was by far the better dish. It was flavorful and spicy but not too spicy, mild enough that someone who isn’t a spicy eater could still enjoy.

Trying to decide which two desserts to try was difficult, all 5 of them sounded delicious. We finally made up our minds and went with the Crema Limone ($6.99), a no sugar added lemon custard with berries topped with whip cream and served with biscotti. It was definitely lemony and a good choice of desserts if you are looking for something light to satisfy your sweet tooth. Now the Honey-Hazelnut Ricotta Cheesecake ($5.99) I could have had seconds of. It was a dome-shaped piece of cheesecake made with ricotta instead of the traditional cream cheese and flavored with honey and hazelnut. It had been rolled in crushed hazelnuts then topped with whip cream and chocolate shavings and then drizzled with strawberry sauce. This was absolutely delicious and one of the best cheesecakes I’ve had. The combination of honey and hazelnut was brilliant. The compliment each other nicely.

Now the total (minus the alcohol) came to $65.98 with the Fantasmic! Dinner Package. If we had not done the package it would have come to $73.94 so you save a little bit of money by doing the package. Overall, I found this restaurant to be very good. I enjoyed the food and the atmosphere (minus the crying baby). I’ll definitely return in the future.

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