Guam Diner Bytes: Eataliano
Eataliano Cuisine: Italian
Something wonderful has happened at the Leo Palace Resort! It is like a renaissance! Something new, fun, and magical! Is it the tall richly-hued painted murals or the kaleidoscopic colorful star lights? This has happened to a venerable establishment long known and appreciated for its European fine dining and excellent cuisine. Alas, Feeregalo is no more...but fear not, the Chrysalis has arisen and transformed into this delightful, relaxing, and upscale casual eatery...Eataliano! Even the name is a play on words! Created and inspired by relatively new Executive Chef Christopher Adams, Eataliano's thick Italian colored paperboard menu boasts some rather amazing creations you're just going to have to try for yourself! I did attend the May 9 soft opening (most of these photos are from then) as well as the "grand opening" on May 17. Yes, they were still working through some of the new restaurant issues, however, they have some fairly experienced kitchen staff and service staff so service who minimized the "hiccups and glitches".
My emphasis and excitment has to do with the focus, diligence, and persistence by Executive Chef Adams, who is on a mission to transform the waning, low-energy dining options at this enormous property into first-rate, exciting, happening dining destinations. I believe that Eataliano has achieved this with its playful, unpretentious menu and ambiance. I can say that the menu has food items that has been created by a team of experienced chefs. The legendary Chef Makoto Fujigaya has been actively involved in this.
Let's explore what we had (we - this food's all about sharing) so "we" enjoyed a variety!
We ordered the Baby Shrimp & Top Shell Clams Ajillo ($9.50). These are sauteed in garlic & olive oil and plated with pepperoncini (ingredient absent). The menu suggests to order Grilled Pesto Cheese Bread ($6.00) to accompany this awesome mushroom and seafood dream. I could have eaten this all on my own! Dip your bread in the oil! Live a little...eat a lot!! The other "TEMPTING STARTER" we had was the Italian Sausage ($9.00), which has two pieces of Eataliano's house-made sausage, sauteed and plated with freshly made garden salad, pickled vegetables, and mustard. This was one of the surprise treats of the night (there were several) that had us puzzled since we have a perception of what Italian Sausage should look like...this looks more like a meat loaf! Dip some mustard on it and eat the pickled cauliflower or celery stick...delicious!
Eataliano has five major salads to share. We ordered the Soft Shell Crab ($20.50), which has perfectly fried soft shell crab served on a bed of local baby field greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers. This is topped with a really tasty sweet chili and creamy ranch dressing. It's a terrific creation! Another salad we tried on the second visit was the Mixed Seafood Salad ($23.75). This has sashimi-style salmon, tuna, octopus, squid, hokki clam and sweet shrimp tossed in a spicy and savory dressing spread over local baby field greens and sprinkled with white sesame seeds. What a treat!
We had one of the five Fresh pasta creations on the menu. The Creamy Forrest Mushroom Pappardelle ($18.50) is loaded with assorted mushrooms, shaved parmesan cheese and drizzled with white truffle oil. The pasta is fresh made...they have acquired their own pasta machine and are rolling out the dough!! The pappardelle pasta are wide and broad which makes them ideal for soaking up the rich sauce! Other pastas include the Spaghetti Bolognese, the Spicy Baked Penne and Arrabbiata, the Seafood and Spinach Fettuccine Alfredo, and the Ravioli and Gnocchi!
There are five Pizzas (described as Tasty 10" Pizzas), and we had the Pesto Chicken and Arugula ($18.50) . The toppings were quite good, with fresh herbs picked from their own garden. The pizza dough could have finished a bit more. On our next visit we had one of the Four Cheese Pizzas ($18) which has mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan and gorgonzola with fresh tomato sauce. The crust on this was much better than the first night's. I did manage a bite of the Margherita (it had a lot of fresh basil!)
We had invited one of the new chefs joining the Leo Palace Team, Chef Donn Gueniot and his wife Mhay, to our table and he'd brought his main Grilled entree (NEW ZEALAND Lamb Chops 1/2 Rack - $37.50) to our table to share. This entree comes with mint lamb au jus, mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach and oil-free tomato sauce. I had one chop and declared it superb! The plating of this is a masterful work of art. Other Grilled Entree offered are a 7 oz. Tenderloin, a 9 oz. Prime Rib of Beef ($37.50), a 12 oz. Top Sirloin, and a 16 oz. Herb Rubbed T-Bone Steak.
We were more than stuffed and still managed to order a dessert. We settled on the Eataliano Sweet Calzone ($9.50) that is filled with nutella and homemade ricotta cheese, mascarpone & custard, then sinfully (willfully) drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and fresh whipped cream! (You know when it's not the canned artificial stuff!). This was a decadent treat, reminding me of a cinnamon rolls flavor and doughy texture...! We did sample the Homemade Gelato Sampler which was a refreshing after dinner palate refresher!
There you have it - a fun run down of our dining adventure at Eataliano - Guam's newest Italian destination...we will return!