May 20, 2011

Mom's Menu Review: Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano

Jon has to work tomorrow, manning a booth at a tree climbing competition in Rochester, MN. He first thought of renting a hotel and driving down tonight. The city is about two hours from where we live, and he has to be at the competition early in the morning to set up the booth. I also planned to drive down with him. But when Jon got home from work this afternoon, neither one of us felt like packing for an overnight trip, especially since Evie would be tagging along. So, Jon decided to make it a super early morning tomorrow, and we went out to dinner tonight instead.

I was in the mood for Italian, so we picked Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano because it's close and it got some good reviews. This was our first time eating at this restaurant. I must say, the food was really good. The sauces were well seasoned without too much salt, although they could have cut back a little on the oil, and the food was cooked very well. We also ordered desert, a couple cannoli and some white chocolate bread pudding. They were DELICIOUS.

We didn't bother to look at the menu online, but they do post their entire menu on their website, including the kid section.

Shortly after the hostess sat our family at a table, a member of the wait staff brought a small plate of food for Evie to munch on. It included some carrot sticks, a few slices from an orange, and a packet of oyster crackers.

There are two things I really like about this plate. (1) That the restaurant provides a snack for young children, so they are kept occupied while Mom and Dad look at the menu. (2) The snack includes a raw vegetable and some fruit. Great job on this. And by the time Evie had finished what was on her plate, we had a basket of bread at the table and were able to give her a piece of bread to gnaw on while we waited for dinner.

The kid menu was about what I expected at an Italian restaurant (offering spaghetti, raviolis, pizza, etc.). It had a better selection of meals (more variety, not much fried food) than we've seen at other places. Although, there is a lack of vegetable and/or fruit options on the menu, but that can kind of be forgiven because of the snack. They have a nice gesture of including an ice cream sundae with every kid meal. We passed on that, though, since we got desserts of our own and could just share if Evie was interested in taking any bites.

For Evie, we got a meat ravioli dish. It came with a tomato-cream sauce (very tasty, by the way), which we asked to have on the side. Evie is still a bit of a messy eater and it is so much easier when we can control the amount of sauce that is put on her food. The dish came with four or five good-sized ravioli (I felt it was an appropriate portion), and Evie loved them. I shared a piece of red potato and a couple bites of asparagus with her from my meal, just to give her a little bit more vegetables.

At the end of the meal Evie needed a diaper change. I brought her into the women's restroom, where I found the changing pad in the largest stall. The stall had tons of room (so if I had have brought a stroller in with me, it would have easily fit, unlike some other larger stalls I've been in), and it included it's own sink and paper towel dispenser. That aspect I really liked. It just made it easier because I could wash my hands with Evie standing near me, and I only had to make sure she didn't go near the toilet rather than watch to make sure she didn't run off into some other part of the bathroom or out the door when someone else walked in. The changing pad was also placed lower than many I've encountered, which was nice for someone shorter like me. 

(Side note: Will someone please tell me why changing pads don't include a little pull-out tray to place the wipes and clean diaper on? It would make it SO much easier to have space for more than just the kid since those items are necessary to go through with changing a diaper. The top ledge of the pad isn't always wide enough for that stuff, and it's frustrating in the least when there's nowhere else to put those things.) 

Overall, I was really pleased with Biaggi's. So far, they have been one of the better dining experiences we have had with Evie, and at this time, I have no real complaints.

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