Too often when on the road, I end up eating fast food or “convenience” food, like those Tornado things (probably because they are called Tornadoes) or string cheese and a banana from a gas station. So when I get a chance to eat a real meal, I relish the moment. Last night I enjoyed a fantastic Italian meal at Benvenuti’s in Norman, Oklahoma. Except for a bird bombing my outdoor table, it was a delightful experience.
I ordered off the seasonal menu. As much as I love traditional Italian food – after all, I was raised with it – I enjoy a fresh take, and Benvenuti’s offers new specials every few months.It also offers wine flights, three-glass samplers on a variety of themes. I went for the First Class Cabernet flight ($10), which included The Show from California; Penfolds Thomas Highland from Australia; and Cult from Napa Valley. I especially liked the California wines, and they went well with my starter, the Risotto Arancini ($9), essentially a fried risotto ball stuffed with mozzarella and pesto and served with a tangy plum tomato sauce. For an entree, I got the Moppina ($17), with sheets of pasta, asparagus, peas, fava beans and flavorful fresh herbs in a butter sauce with a dollop of black pepper mascarpone cheese. It was just light enough, and delicious, and I had leftovers, to boot.
I wrapped up with the decadent Chocolate Caramel Pot du Creme ($6), a rich, chocolaty custard with just a touch of sea salt.
There are several more things I’d like to try at Benvenuti’s, which has a hip, friendly atmosphere … maybe the next time I’m in town, if I’ve survived the convenience store food in the meantime.