I had one of the best meals at Carino Riserva in Mission. The food is just killer. I haven’t been this excited about a restaurant since Anju back in 2011.
We sat in the back of the room, which was a semi-private space. The restaurant itself is small and narrow. There were about half a dozen tables filled when L and I arrived at 8:00pm. The majority of customers were fluent in Japanese.
After we ordered our food, my husband and I ate complimentary candied cherry tomatoes that were sweet and crunchy. I started off with very bubbly glass of prosecco ($10) while L ordered an Asahi. I was pleased as punch to notice most wines by the glass were $10.00 or $11.00. Just another reason to make Carino my new go-to restaurant for date night.
We each ordered an Aranchio ($3.00), which was decorated with a little flower. The smell of the cheese hit our nose the moment it landed on our table. Oh, this was a taste teaser. The softness of the risotto and the richness of the cheese contrasted with the crispy exterior. The spicy tomato sauce with wagyu beef was spicy but not enough to burn our tongue. You can tell that a great deal of attention is paid to the flavours of the food.
L and I shared an order of the Spaghetti alle Pescatore ($22.00). The noodles were al dente and lightly sauced in a clear dashi broth. I thought the sweet sauce highlighted the freshness of the clams, scallops, prawn, and squid. The big old prawn was large and plump. I’m not sure if I was suppose to suck the prawn head, but I did anyway, and the flavour was heavenly.
I ordered a glass of Vioneti de Monteforte, which was smooth like sake and it had an almost flat aftertaste. The wine went so well with the Duck Leg Confit and Ricotta Gnocchi ($24). This last dish was even better than the previous dishes. The duck and gnocchi came in a separate bowl, in two different broths. The broth with the gnocchi was almost like an intense French onion soup. The broth with the duck confit was very flavourful with a heat to it. Both broths were so good, L and I drank every drop. The duck was was fall off the bone soft. The vegetables were so fresh and perfectly cooked. The small potatoes were sweet and tasted like they just came from the garden. The bok choy and sugar snap peas still had a snap to it. The mushrooms were soft and silky smooth.
L and I were too full for dessert, but we received a complimentary chocolate at the end of the meal. Dark chocolate with some crispy filling, the sweet (which actually wasn’t sweet) was the perfect end to a truly amazing meal.
The prices are incredible for this league of food. We plan to come and often. Normally when I find a dish I like, I stick to it. However, the taste explosions at Carino Riserva make me want to sample across the entire menu.