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Review of Spring menu at Prego Ristorante
Prego Contechino e Lenticchie

Review of Spring menu at Prego Ristorante

Review of Spring menu at Prego Ristorante

Prego’s Spring menu brings a touch of Northern Italy to Irvine

Prego Exterior e1399959963715

Prego is located on Michelson in Corporate Irvine

Nestled in the heart of an Irvine business complex is a charming Italian restaurant called Prego Ristorante,  which focuses on traditional Northern Italian cuisine. Executive Chef and Partner Ugo Allesina was born in the Piemnonte region of Italy and brings his 25 years of kitchen experience to practice at Prego.  This was my second time dining at Prego, the first time was before the fire severely damaged the restaurant last year. This blog post will cover my reaction to their Spring menu which I was invited to try last week. Although I was invited to try their new spring menu, this review is purely my own opinion. 

 

Prego Executive Chef and Partner Ugo Allesina

Prego Executive Chef and Partner Ugo Allesina

I am a huge fan of good Italian food. I became obsessed with it after a trip to Italy several years ago when I took a cooking classes and learned some basic Italian cooking techniques. Many of the dishes that I have tasted at Prego remind me of meals that I enjoyed in Tuscany.

 

Prego Interior

Prego Interior

Prego Ristorante Spring Menu Dishes

Bruschetta Toscana

Toasted bread is topped with fresh tomato, mozzarella, imported Parma prosciutto. It was delicious. This appetizer was executed extremely well, although anything less than superior bruschetta would be unacceptable for this type of restaurant. Status quo met.

Antipasto Crudo

Prego does a nice job with their antipasto meats, each pure and delicious.  Meats that I tried include handcrafted Allesina salami, bresaola, Proscuitto di Parma, speck, giardiniera.

Both Appetizers paired with Sofia Blanc de Blancs, 2012

Prego Crudo plate

Prego Crudo plate

 

Asparagi Delizia

Asparagus is wrapped in Parma prosciutto and grilled until the prosciutto is slightly crunchy and the asparagus has an ever so slight snap.  It is served with salad greens, parmesan cheese and truffle oil. I am a really big fan of prosciutto wrapped asparagus and can make a really good version of this at home, although Chef Allesina’s version trumps mine any day. This was my favorite dish of the course menu.

Prego Asparagi Delizia

Prego Asparagi Delizia

Recommended Pairing La Moto Pinot Grigio, Veneto 2011

 

Risotto Alla Sovazzese

Arborio rice is cooked with porcini mushrooms, fontina cheese and herbs. The risotto was creamy and the right amount of firmness in the rice to provide a nice breakup of texture. I liked the earthy flavors from the porcini mushrooms against the creamy fontina cheese.

 

Prego Risotto Alla Sovazzese

Prego Risotto Alla Sovazzese

 

Recommended pairing  Zorzon Pinot Grigio, Friuli Venezia Giulea, 2011

Contechino e Lenticchie

Allesina homemade Italian Sausage with white wine served with stewed lentils and house made whole grain mustard. This is an interesting choice for a spring menu item since this dish is traditionally served as a New Year’s dish in Italy. Executive Chef and Partner explained that he used the recipe for Contenchino from his native village in Northern Italy, close to the Swiss border as inspiration.  The sausage is house made, cooked and then served in slices.  The sausage has a softer and creamier texture that I can best describe as somewhere between firm pate and traditional sausage.

Prego Contechino e Lenticchie e1399960358742

Prego Contechino e Lenticchie

The sausage is served with the dish’s traditional accompaniment, stews lentils and house made grain mustard. Overall this was a good dish, although I could have really enjoyed if this dish were served with some fresh vegetables since it is spring. This slight modification this would provide some contrast of flavor and lighten the palate between bites.  Keep in mind that the traditional contechino dish is served only with lentils, I would probably order the asparagus with this dish.

Recommended pairing, Elle Primitivo, Puglia 2010

Tronco ai Cioccolati 

I really liked this dessert. Puff pastry is rolled around white and dark chocolate mousse to form a log and then sliced to into potion sizes. The tronco is served with crème anglaise and raspberry sauce.  This is a nice interpretation of the classic dessert. The dessert was light and fluffy with multiple flavor layers brought out by the interplay of light puff pastry, chocolate and vanilla mouse and the raspberry sauce.

Prego Tronco ai Cioccolati

Prego Tronco ai Cioccolati

 

My Final Thoughts

If you are looking for good Italian food, Prego Ristorante is a wonderful choice. I really liked the authentic recipes and delicious dishes. The new spring menu was delicious and I plan on visiting Prego Ristorante again soon to get a second helping. The Owners of Prego,  Tony and Ruth Bedi,  are obviously putting their heart and soul into this restaurant and are lucky to have a Chef Partner like Ugo Allesina  in the kitchen. 

Other Spring Menu Offerings at Prego Ristorante

 

Ruchetta e Ricotta Salata
vine-ripened tomatoes, arugula, red onion, and aged ricotta in a red wine vinaigrette

Insalata Paesana
roasted chicken, romaine lettuce, hard boiled egg, tomatoes, leeks, and zucchini in a gorgonzola vinaigrette

Linguine Bella Napoli
linguine tossed with calamari, fresh diced tomatoes, spinach, and spicy tomato sauce

Rigatoni alla Moda
large tube pasta with grilled sliced Italian sausage, roasted eggplant, thyme, garlic, basil, and pecorino cheese

Pollo Fiorentino
free-range chicken breast filled with spinach and ricotta cheese, served with sundried tomatoes and roasted garlic sauce

Spiedini di Mare
grilled shrimp and scallops skewered with bell pepper and red onions, served over sautéed spinach, tomatoes and artichoke hearts

 

Address: 18420 Von Karman Ave, Irvine, CA 92612
Phone:(949) 553-1333

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About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.

10 comments

  1. I love the ambiance of the place.. Ow all the menu was just perfect presented

  2. This just made me super hungry! Everything looks delicious! Especially the dessert, yum! :-)

  3. The next time I’m near Irvine, I will definitely plan a trip to this restaurant. Wow. I can taste the food already!

  4. This looks like a great place that I’d like to try!

  5. Marjory Johnson

    Wow! What a fabulous place and great review.

  6. I love when you can taste the love in the food you eat at a chef owned restaurant. Looks like you had a great time and fabulous dishes

  7. Oh mio, tutto quello che ci sembra così saporita
    Mi piacerebbe provare le carni anti-Pasto

    Gracia

  8. Any time someone puts their heart and soul into their food is always good for the eater :)

  9. Prego was a great restaurant:) I cannot wait to go back! I really loved the asparagus salad:)

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