Carpaccio Italian Kitchen: A Friendly Meal At Carpaccio's

For the second year in a row, we chose to celebrate our wedding anniversary with my dad and step-mom at Carpaccio in Annapolis, MD. Carpaccio is one of their favorite restaurants; especially since my step-mom Monica has a special connection with the owner (they're both crazy Italians). Carpaccio has a great location in Downtown Annapolis on a block with a lot of walking traffic, coffee shops, and hotels. There is plenty of parking; both street and garage and a huge bonus is that it's right by the stop for the free trolley that will take you all over Annapolis. It has a great outside area that is shared with another restaurant and a beautiful fountain. The interior of the restaurant is sophisticated with high-end decorations, an open view of the kitchen, and a large and fully stocked bar and yet the restaurant also has a comfortable feel to it. This is one of those rare places where upon entering you know that you can both feel at home here and know that you're getting a quality, high-end meal that you couldn't ever get at home. The wait staff is always incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. On this occasion our waiter even advised us on a dish he didn't recommend we tried as it wasn't one of his favorites. That might not enamor him of the owner or chef, but it did of me for sure. When deciding what to order, I asked him to choose my wine for me based on the entree I chose and he was knowledgeable in that aspect, picked me a great wine, and checked back to make sure I liked it. He was very attentive and had such a lovely, friendly attitude; it made you want to come back regardless of the food. Thankfully, the food made you want to come back even more. The bread that you start with at the table is a mixture of different kinds, the best of which Monica calls their "pizza bread" as it's covered in a delicious red sauce. The table started with carpaccio di manzo toscano (thinly sliced filet mignon, baby spinach, mixed mushrooms, shaved parmesan cheese, drizzle of white truffle oil) which was perfectly sliced, a beautiful presentation, and just the right amount of filling to really wet your appetite for the meal you're about to tuck into. For entrees, I ordered the risotto al funghi porcini (arborio rice slowly cooked in a mushroom broth with imported Italian Porcini mushrooms, drizzled with white truffle olive oil and topped with shaved parmesan cheese) and Mike ordered the polenta di mare (fresh prawns, deep sea scallops, jumbo lump crab cake meat, fancy capers, scampi sauce, resting on a crispy polenta). My risotto was perfect; it was the perfect mix of creamy and al dente. The mushrooms and truffle oil were decadent and just the perfect richness. I took my leftovers home and finished it with steak for dinner and it was just as good the second time around and held up perfectly next to a piece of red meat. Mike loved his polenta and his prawns and scallops were perfectly cooked. For dessert, I ordered the cannelloni which were delicious. They were the perfect size for one person and were the exact right amount of sweet. Often with cannelloni you can get filling that is way too sweet and ruins the whole dish; these were perfect. The only criticism of my dessert is that the shells were a little to hard to cut into and I ended up stabbing at my cannelloni like a sugar crazed caveman. Mike ordered the flourless chocolate cake. His cake was incredibly rich, but given in a tiny slice so as to not overwhelm. He loved it and devoured the whole thing quickly. Mike finished of his meal with a dessert liquor suggested by our waiter that Mike found surprisingly delicious. Walking away from a meal at Carpaccio, you feel full, satisfied, and happy. We all left with smiles on our faces knowing we had just eaten quality food with just the right amount of decadence served by someone you now felt like was a friend.