Sunday, February 10, 2008

Leonardo's on Lovejoy (Pearl)

Both my sis and I used to live in the Burlington Tower apartments on NW Lovejoy, so we've had a front row seat from which to watch restaurants enter and promptly exit the space at NW 10th & NW Lovejoy over the past few years. When I moved in, Nina's was there serving totally uninspiring fare and watery milkshakes and when I moved out small-plates-themed Graze was trying to make a go of it and failing miserably. My friend B, who still lives in the Burly, called the other day to tell me that based on her 9th floor perch observations of the newest tenant--Leonardo's on Lovejoy--she thinks maybe third time's a charm. 

B, Me, and The Brits popped in for a casual lunch and were pleased to see that the new owner had spruced the place up, adding some brightly colored architectural features to break up the modern, high-ceilinged, glass-window enclosed dining room. It makes for a much warmer environment than before.

 Also warm was my minestrone soup, which I prefer to be scalding hot when served, but I shan't quibble. It was good hearty soup, studded with beans and vegetables and pasta and bits of Italian sausage. Oh yes, and check out that lovely flat leaf parsley garnish in the picture, I forgot about that. Also nicely done was B's Caprese salad, with its lively AB pattern (sorry, former kindergarten teacher here) of fresh mozzarella and tomato, and smattering of fresh basil and drizzle of balsamic & olive oil. Matt had the calzone, a tasty blend of spinach, sausage, and mozzarella wrapped in a bundle of thick dough and served with marinara sauce for dipping. Sian chose the calamari, which was lightly battered and served with an undersalted cucumber sauce and what tasted like cocktail sauce. Even though I'm not a huge fried sea creature person and although my evaluation of this dish was hampered by the fact that Sian hogged all the tasty tender little rings and left me with the twisty crunchy tangly sort-of-gross squid legs part, I thought the calamari was good. 

Sadly, I lost the menu I pilfered after lunch so my specifics on price and detailed dish description are lacking here, but I'll try to stroll down to the Pearl soon and get another one and update this someday. As I recall, I thought the dishes were very reasonably priced, especially for the Pearl. The wine list was priced reasonably as well. Six-dollar glasses of Prosecco in the Pearl make me happy. So...I suppose I'll wrap up this rather vague posting with the assertion that while I wouldn't make a special trip to NW 10th & NW Lovejoy to eat at Leonardo's (unless you are seriously sick of the restaurant turnover there and would like to help the newcomer survive a little longer), if I were hungry for a big 'ol calzone and it was convenient, or if I wanted a $6 glass of Prosecco and it was convenient, or if I wanted a mellow & friendly atmosphere and decent Italian food and it was convenient, I'd definitely eat at Leonardo's again. 

Leonardo's on Lovejoy * 939 NW 10th Ave. * 503.546.2223 * can't find a website, boo * forgot to mention they have a full bar, yay

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