Wanting to use another of our gonga Restaurant.com gift certificates, we headed out to a new (for us) place called, Amereno's Little Italy. Truthfully, David is no very fond of Italian food and tomatoes in particular so we don't eat at Italian places very much, but he was willing to give it a try.
When we arrived, we weren't even sure the place was open. So many good eating places haven't survived the economic downturn. It looked dark from the outside and there were only 3 cars on the entire parking lot. David checked the door and lo and behold, it was indeed open.
We were immediately seated in a cute little booth and brought water. The setting was much nicer than the other Italian places we've been to in Tucson, including the place of 4th Avenue (Caruso's). The tables were set with white tablecloths and napkins. I kind of felt underdressed, but hey, this is Tucson, right?
First we got a few slices of some delicious homemade bread with a butter, chive (and sour cream?) spread that was addictive. They had a wonderful wine selection, including some nice "happy hour" specials. Unfortunately, they were out of the Chianti that I wanted, but our waiter made a wonderful alternative suggestion. Speaking of the wait staff, they were most friendly and attentive young men. Some of the nicest I've found here.
We ordered the pinzimonio antipasta ($9) which consisted of roasted bell peppers, greek olives and imported sharp provolone cheese served cold on a bed of dressed lettuce with lightly toasted Italian bread. I added a light spread of the herbed butter to the toasts and was very happy with the taste of all of it! To my surprise, we finished it!
David ordered salsiccia sisca (fresh sausage with spinach and mushrooms sautéed in light olive oil and roasted garlic $18) for his entree. His first bite brought a big smile and a "pretty good" which is a great compliment from him. He loved the sausage. Although his Chinese side tells him that noodles go with everything, but thinks he may prefer the potatoes next time.
I had asked the waiter for a preference between the lasagna and the eggplant parmigiana. I was inclined to go with teh lasagna until he told me that the eggplant was lighter and very thinly sliced.I then went with his recommendation and was very pleased that I did. The eggplant was tender and mild, the sauce was fresh and tomatoey and in just the right amount so as not to overpower the eggplant. I've not had such good eggplant in over a year and never in Tucson!
The final bill was a little pricier than we planned. I did have 2 glasses of wine and an 18% gratuity was added (I probably would have given more, but I get annoyed that they don't trust me to tip on the full bill and refuse to add more to the already charged tip), however, all in all it was well worth it! If you're int he mood for fine Italian dining in Tucson, forget the others and go to Amereno's. We will definitively be back!