04 August 2008

Bricco - Downtown Harrisburg

Overall Rating: Very Good
Highlight: Can you say Cheese?!
Lowlight: Pricey
Veggie Note: Some vegetarian options are available and they are clearly marked on the menu.

While browsing online for a nice place to eat dinner, we stumbled upon this gourmet find.

Bricco is a Mediterranean style restaurant associated with the Olewine School of Culinary Arts at Harrisburg Area Community College. The decor is very trendy, clean and comfortable. The staff members are all friendly, professional and dressed tidy. You definitely want to dress nicely yourself for this experience. We made reservations online but didn't really need them, we were greeted and seated right away.

We had the following:


  • Fresh Baked Dill Bread with dipping oil - very tasty and warm


  • Red Oak and Mache - this was a great combination of pistachio encrusted goat cheese, fried and placed on top of red leaf greens, a few delicate slices of melon and pickled lemon rind. We ordered just one that we were going to share from a single plate. The waiter suggested they split it onto two plates for us - there was no extra charge for this. The whole thing was great!

  • Formaggi - Selection of 3 (We chose Pipe Dreams Formage Ashed, PA, Goat;
    Fougerus, French, Cow; Tumbleweed, 5 Spoke Creamery, PA, Raw Cow) - I'll spare you the details of each individual cheese and just tell you that this was a real treat for us. Cheese is definitely one of our weaknesses, and here is a great example of enjoying locally produced food, another ++ for us. The three cheeses were served on a board with a slice of fresh honeycomb, several fresh crostinins and a fig compote (or something like that). Fabulous! What a great combination of flavors and textures. My partner didn't really dig the fig.


  • Cappellini d’Angelo - this pasta dish had lots of garlic, which my partner really enjoyed, especially when the tiny balls of fresh mozzarella rolled around and got covered in tiny minced bits of it. The basil leaves were extremely fresh and flavorful, from one of the tinier-leaved varities. All-in-all this dish was a winner.

  • Risotto del Giorno - okay, I confess, the risotto of the day was lobster, but occasionally (very, very occasionally) I give in to a shellfish dish. The number of vegetarian entrees was limited, and I was not in the mood to make too many special requests, so I picked this dish out of my laziness and want to order straight off the menu. If you're a vegetarian or vegan, you probably can relate to tiring of always trying to adapt dishes when the choices are limited. Of course you probably don't resort to eating shellfish the way I do. Anyway, ignoring the lobster, the risotto was made very well and the dish was very fresh. I did add a little salt to suit my tastes.


  • Frozen Strawberry Shortcake - strawberry basil sorbet served on a biscuit with a hard meringue topping. The sorbet was very yummy, but the biscuit was hard and difficult to break through with the spoon provided. The meringue was also hard to eat this way.

  • Fried Coconut Sticky Rice - the rice was wrapped in a spring roll type wrapper and fried. It wasn't too sweet, which my partner was glad about, but it also wasn't very coconutty either. It was served with a tres leches cake which was very moist and rich. I liked it better than my partner, but she's not much of a milk person to begin with.

Just a few other notes:

Bricco has a great wine list, which included a few local wines, very nice. We ordered a bottle of wine and we were well attended to when our glasses needed refilling.

We asked our server if he was a culinary student and surprisingly he was not, and even more surprisingly he said most of the servers were not. They were all super great at their jobs!

Bricco, in combination with the Hilton, hosts culinary lessons for the public. The cost isn't cheap, but the topics are pretty compelling. We are considering attending a 2 hour class on local beer, local cheese and complimentary spicy dishes.

Final Thoughts: While there were not an exceptional number of vegetarian dishes on the menu, there are definitely enough for you to pay Bricco a visit. There were lots of cold dishes, side dishes, brick oven pizzas and more cheese that we want to go back to try. There is a bar here, so maybe someday we will go back for drinks and something small. Heaven knows we can not afford to regularly eat there they way we did tonight.

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