Mona Lisa Revisited

June21

Mona Lisa Ristorante Italiano at 1697 Corydon Ave., first opened its doors in 1983 (and we have been frequent visitors for 19 years), but continues to reinvent itself on a continual basis, adding to its size in both directions and renewing and refreshing its concept in unique and inventive ways.  I watched with interest as the latest facelift occurred and was waiting for the perfect opportunity to visit again.  When a business associate of mine suggested that we celebrate our mutual birthdays with a lunch, I knew that the time had come.

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The new decor is upscale and elegant with crisp white linens and the outdoor patio which has always been one of my favourites, follows suit.  We whetted our appetites with slices of hot-from-the-oven bread which we dipped into a quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The menu at lunch is quite compact and this I believe is a good thing, preferring when a few items are prepared with particular expertise, rather than many offerings being done with mediocrity.  I did find it somewhat surprising that the only pasta offering was the pasta of the day: a penne with tomato sauce.  But, priced so affordably at $5 with an Italian salad adding another $5, my lunch date thought that it to be a satisfying lunch, especially for $10.  She also commented that the simple sauce was very tasty and well-balanced.

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I was not so easy to please.  I read over the menu many times and just could not make up my mind.  So I decided to take a risk and ask our personable server to simply order whatever he thought that I would like the best.  After he inquired if I was partial to veal, he immediately suggested that I try their version with an accompaniment of Bocconcini and Tomato salad.  The escalopes were quickly turned with sautéed onions and accompanied by grilled eggplant, zucchini and red peppers in a simple, rustic presentation.  The addition of skinny slices of red onion was a nice twist on the classic Bocconcini salad rcipe, but required a wee bit of salt to enhance the flavour of the abundant tomato wedges.

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Proprietor Joe Grande was enjoying his own lunch at a neighbouring table.  In all the years that I have been enjoying Mona Lisa’s fare, he is a constant figure.  On my last visit, he insisted that I tour the kitchen, to my delight.  The fresh pasta was being lovingly prepared and was drying on massive wooden racks.  The ancient process, still fascinates me every time I witness it.

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Mona Lisa Ristorante Italiano on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quotes:  “Also, since art is a vehicle for the transmission of ideas through form, the reproduction of the form only reinforces the concept. It is the idea that is being reproduced. Anyone who understands the work of art owns it. We all own the Mona Lisa. ” -Sol LeWitt

heart pasta

Love-that is all.


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