image from modo mio
Modo Mio Cucina Rustica is one of those good food places. The short story is that it's good quality food for a decent price in a fantastic location, so if you're ever in the area, you should definitely stop by to check them out.
The long story:
Location: The location is probably my favorite part of this whole thing, which isn't to say anything bad about Modo Mio's food or whatever, but seriously, the location. It's located in Crystal Cove just off the PCH, so it's facing the Pacific Ocean. We've actually been to the shopping center many times before, but we usually just park there and go hiking along the beach or into the hills. Anyways, the point is that the view is gorgeous. The shopping center itself is very Newport Beach: classy and luxurious without being snooty. Plus, there's this store that I really want to visit when it's open.
There are a couple other restaurants that were absolutely packed when we were there on Saturday night, so we'll probably be back to see what they're all about too.
Service: There's no host/hostess/maitre'd to greet you when you walk in the door, so there was a group of people just hanging out in the entryway for a couple minutes waiting for someone to pay attention to us. But after that, our server was lovely and the attention paid to us was decent enough for us to have a nice dinner, if a bit slow.
Mushroom carpaccio: compliments of the chef, so we weren't expecting it, but it was fantastic. My dad also likes his bread with olive oil instead of butter, so he ended up dipping it in the leftover olive oil from the mushrooms. Don't know what the point of that sentence was, but this dish was great, and probably really easy to make at home so you can have it all the time.
We also ordered some salad off the specials list, with chopped asparagus, Kalamata olives, tomato, fresh mozzarella, and some salad greens. The name kind of sounded like bocconcini, but that's baby mozzarella, so now I'm just kind of confused. But it was nice and fresh and light, which is exactly what we were looking for in an appetizer/salad.
Ravioli di pollo e tacchino affumicato: My mom ordered this smoked turkey and chicken ravioli, which was really flavorful and full of umami (is that kind of redundant?). The sauce was full of shiitake mushrooms, which was unexpected for Italian cuisine but still really yummy. Also the portion size didn't look like much, but it was apparently really filling.
Linguine alle vongole: I didn't get a chance to taste this, but my dad liked his pasta with clams sautéed in white wine. More bread got dipped into the leftover broth (clearly there's a pattern here).
Risotto with bay scallops and tomato pesto: I ordered my dish off the specials list as well. I have no idea what a tomato pesto is, but it was delicious nonetheless. They also gave me a ton, so I had the leftovers for lunch the next day, heated up with some sautéed spinach and sun-dried tomatoes. Even with all those add-ins, there was still a ton of scallop flavor, which just tells you how much flavor was in the original dish.
Flourless chocolate tart with graham cracker crust and vanilla sauce: I'm not a chocolate person at all, so this was definitely too rich for me, but I think my mom enjoyed it. We also some tea to accompany dessert; they had a decent selection of tea bags, but this just made me miss Boston when after-dinner tea would mean my own cast-iron tea pot and loose-leaf MEM Tea.
I didn't get a chance to look at their drinks list, not that I have any sort of wine knowledge at all. But this place will definitely get saved in case we're ever craving simple, quality Italian food in the future.