Molto buona: +39 serves exquisite Italian food

It has always been a struggle to find a nice restaurant to go to before school dances, but the recently opened restaurant, +39, may solve this problem. +39 is a combination of an Italian restaurant, market, and Cantina. The atmosphere is clean, modern, and relaxed, and the waiters follow the Italian tradition of giving their customers plenty of time. The tables are not crammed into the room, but are rather sparsely arranged, allowing intimate conversation.

The manager, Alessandro Andreoni, is from northern Italy. It was his dream to open a restaurant in America. Through friends in Ames, and his grandmother’s recipes, he has successfully opened a very authentic Italian restaurant.

Alessandro himself led me to my table and delivered a plate of fresh bread. The bread was moist inside, but had a slightly crispy crust. Upon further inquiry, I was delighted to find that it was made by the previous owner of Cafe Shi. My waiter took my order electronically, using an Ipad which sent the order directly to the chefs.

Surprisingly, the rustic tomato soup was vegan. It needed no cream to create its rich flavor, but instead used ample amounts of roasted tomatoes, garlic, and basil. I told the waiter that I thought that the soup was slightly over-salted and he promised to make a note of this to the chef, showing the emphasis this restaurant puts on customer satisfaction.

The cavolini (brussel sprouts) appetizer used pancetta, parmesan, and truffle aioli to bring out the flavor of the brussel sprouts. Although I ordered it without meat, this entree was exquisite, and perhaps some of the best brussel sprouts I have ever eaten.

My main entree, pansotti, was sweet, savory, and rich with just the right amount of butternut squash to add a hint of sweetness but not overpower the dish. The brown butter sage sauce was a perfect accompaniment to the little homemade raviolis. The small portion ensured that this rich entree wasn’t too heavy.

The lunch menu is around ten dollars per meal and the dinner meals are a bit more. This is probably not ideal for high schoolers, as the portions were small. However, I highly recommend this restaurant for nice dinner, date, or pre-dance dinner. If in a larger group, I recommend ordering several dishes and sharing them, as to experience a wide variety of italian flavors. “Foodies” are sure to love everything about this new restaurant in Ames.IMG_7919