Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mistral Ristorante Opens in Provincetown

Four nicely seasoned baked clams of cherry stone
size make a tasty, generous appetizer. Portion
 sizes throughout the meal were quite liberal.
UPDATE: Name changed to Mistralina a week after opening.
Mistral Ristorante opened on Saturday night, at 133 Bradford Street. I was the first guest served on their lovely brick patio. I was looked after by Sal, a woman who could not be more Italian, nor more welcoming. She's come to Provincetown from Florida, where Mistral's sister restaurant is found, here to help to get PTown's new Italian menu off the ground. And it's a sizable menu.
I started out with the baked clams, chopped into a breadcrumb stuffing with onions,  pancetta, peppers, parsley and baby shrimp, all stuffed into four cherrystone clam shells and baked in the oven. This large, tasty appetizer is suitable to share with one or more friends.

Chicken Valdosdana stuffed with Fontina cheese and prosciutto.
Next I ordered one of their daily specials not found on the menu, the Chicken Valdosdana. That's a nice chicken breast pounded out quite thin, then rolled and stuffed with prosciutto and fontina cheese, very lightly breaded and baked. It's served over penne pasta, cooked perfectly al dente, with a marsala wine sauce and lots of fresh mushrooms.

Mistral Ristorante's version of tiramisu is quite good.
To finish off my meal I ordered Tiramisu, the traditional Italian dessert generally made with an egg and mascarpone custard between cake-like layers soaked in strong coffee, usually with a little brandy added, often sprinkled with dark cocoa powder. This dessert gained instant fame in the USA when it was mentioned in the 1993 hit movie Sleepless in Seattle. Mistral's version is well-soaked and yet remains light and delicate, with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon dusted over the creamy top layer for another dimension of flavor, and drizzled with a dark chocolate sauce.
I took half of my chicken and pasta home in a box. This $25 portion was quite generous, as was the plate of stuffed clams, and I ate more of their crusty homemade bread than I should have, but I couldn't help myself. It's made with extra olive oil in the dough to give the crust that wonderful crunch, served with both a buttery kalamata olive spread and an herbed olive oil on the side so you can choose either, or taste them both. Though their liquor license is still pending, they are allowed to offer a complimentary glass of wine with your meal, so I had a nice Pinot Grigio.
Service was very good, if a little self-conscious on their first night, with lots of folks refilling my water, carrying out my courses, eager to have me enjoy my dinner. Mistral Ristorante has a fairly large menu, with some items that sound like homestyle recipes I want to taste, and I can see that they'll be bringing some interesting specials to the table as well. Living nearby, and enjoying my first meal here, I'll be back soon to taste more, and once I discover my new favorites, their "to go" menu will come in handy, with virtually everything available to take out. Call them at 774 593-5945. They're open daily from 4:30 till 10 PM. Give them a try.

Note: Shortly after this restaurant opened, its name was changed to Mistralina.

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