It was well past the noon hour when Tom and I arrived at Giovannie’s Kitchen—the time of day when those of a certain age prefer to eat. Hurried lunch-goers had cleared out and the atmosphere was a bit more relaxed. The sun was at just the right angle for us to sit comfortably at a window table, but a bit too cool, I felt, for outdoor seating.
Warm bread appeared on the table before I could get my menu opened and readers perched on my nose. I like being able to nibble as I peruse a menu. It alerts my palate to the upcoming event.
As always, the servers were diligent and attentive. Their training was well evidenced, so the ordering and delivery went smoothly. We each selected the House Salad, crisp, fresh and lightly dressed. Tom went for the Spaghetti Amatriciana and I opted for the Puttanesca with it’s caper and olive overtones.
I never have a Puttanesca without inquiring if my fellow diners are familiar with its origins. Few are. The Italian translation is “whore’s meal,” because it was a simple, few-ingredient sauce, that could be cooked by “ladies of the evening” between customers. Despite its licentious beginnings, the once X-rated dish is now a mainstay of Italian cuisine.
Both sauces were exemplary. While we ate, we had a pleasant visit with Chef Frank Gabrielle, whose father, Giovanni, founded the Hill restaurant more than four decades ago. We shared family stories and food tidbits. Hearing of his visit to the family’s ancestral village in Sicily was especially heartwarming.
I noticed as we left that some of the seniors, who were there when we arrived were still happily visiting as they extend their lunch with an afternoon cup of coffee. And why not? The atmosphere at Giovanni’s Kitchen is conducive to lingering—a true oasis for those who enjoy good food, well served, and shared with family and friends.