Thursday, August 30, 2007

Leonardo's Italian Cafe - Battle Ground WA

The city of Battleground in Washington State is roughly a 30 minute drive from the Oregon Border. Odd name and odd history
And Leonardo's Italian cafe is in this tiny very nondescript 1970's looking strip mall. Although once inside the place becomes very spacious. We were sat in a booth by the open kitchen. I just love to sit in the kitchen in a working restaurant. This is usually reserved for the chef's guest. But lately it has even become fashionable at the McDonald's of Italian eateries. Buca de Beppo, where you can reserve this table. If by the way, you ever find yourself going to Buca de Beppo, this and the Pope room are the only places to sit. Otherwise, why bother going. OK, Back to Leonardo's. With such a low key exterior in a slightly rural location one wouldn't normally expect to find a great Italian eatery. Well this place dispels that myth. Family run and operated. This is a very high quality establishment. I love it when a place offers local wines, beers, produce and anything else. Like rolling through a small village in Europe, This place offered locally grown greens and local grown beef. The wine list had a very cool offering of similar wines from Italy and Washington State. Such as a Chianti from where else, Chianti and a Sangiovese from Washington State. Both made with the same grape. But like Champagne, you can't call American wine made from Sangiovese Chianti, cuz it doesn't come from Chianti.
A basket of very light and flaky foccacia bread came to the table. It was oh so slightly infused with herbs. Just light and airy. Not a fan of focaccia bread, But every now and then one pops up like this. Excellent. Usually places have this very dry and thick foccacia that would gag a horse. Nice surprise.
For a dinner salad we ordered up the house pear and candied pecan green salad with raspberry vinaigrette. This was an astounding salad. the pears had been poached in a cinnamon and nutmeg port wine concoction and all the flavors came through glowingly and the pear had a nice al dente feel to it and also retained the predominate taste. Light and not overpowering vinaigrette blended well with this offering. Light and refreshing.
A bowl of the Pasta di Fruita del Mare came next (13.25). Perfectly cooked Fetucini pasta was topped with fresh assorted seafood including mussels, clams and shrimp covered in a believe it or not a very light and tasty seafood cream sauce. With just the right amount of flavorings as not to over power the fresh seafood. And of course topped off with a large amount of Parmigiano-ReggianoAlso (13.25) was the Pasta Ala Romana. I have been on this kick to find a prosciutto that I like. Normally don't care for it. way to salty and overpowering. This dish had fresh cooked spaghetti tossed with olive oil, garlic, freshly diced tomatoes and chopped basil. A very simple dish. Most times the simple dishes are the hardest to make. As a host of flavors vie for your taste buds and not a lot of chefs do simple dishes right. This one was spot on. And did I forget to say it also had bits of a very tangy and not so salty prosciutto mixed in it as well. I liked this dish and the prosciutto that they had in it. another winner.

Leonardo's Italian Cafe

15 E Main, Battleground, Washington (360) 687-4373 Monday thru Friday 11:30 am - 2:30 pm, Sunday thru Thursday 4:30 pm - 9:00 pm Friday thru Saturday 4:30 pm - 10:00 pm Italian cooking: soups, pasta, and gourmet pizza. Menu changes seasonally.
If you find yourself in the area and are looking for good Italian eats. Try this place out. I think you will like it. Funny name and not so funny history for a small town.


KirkK said...

Hey Michael - From BBQ in Seattle to Italian in Battleground, that's quite a culinary trip!

Michael said...

Yo Kirk - I have a few more to post. just have been really busy at my day job. I think you will find my visit to Portland funny.

Anonymous said...

Just a little fyi, the city is called Battle Ground.

P.S. - Great review! I love Leonardo's.

Michael said...

Thanks. I have corrected the Battle Ground typo

Anonymous said...

We moved to Bg from Portland, and are food snobs. There isn't much to get excited about in the Clark County food scene, but Leonardo's was the bright spot for us! We have had all good meals there, creative dishes, very tasty, and very friendly service, good wine list, and did I say great food? It goes to show we don't have to eat like hicks just 'cuz we're away from the big city.

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