Etto is a small front room with about 10 tables and a second room for a good sized bar and some counter seating. Small tables are spaced closely, napkins are of paper and jazz music plays in the background. For our reservation we were given a 2 hour window at which time you needed to be gone so the next wave could come in. Service is efficient and so this works. Lunch had a 2 or 3 course fixed price menu with multiple choices for each course or an a la carte menu. The wine list also offered a selection of wines by the carafe. We had the 3 course menu and tried to order some different things to sample more of their foods.
For a starter mussels, samphire, nduja and leek was delicious. The sausage was chopped into the flavorful broth and added a very distinctive flavor. A bit spicy, it was great mixed with the leeks and seabeans and mussels. They were nice enough to bring out a finger bowl for when you finished.
Good bread was provided which was lovely dipped into the sauce.
Deer carpaccio, artichoke, pickled pear and juniper was another starter. The deer was sliced very thin and quite tender. It mixed well with the sweet pear and pickled artichoke pieces. A light dressing of oil finished out this fine dish.
For a main roast onion, squash risotto, chanterellles and taleggio was a bit on the pasty and dull side. The pieces of squash were wonderful but it was too thick for my taste. The rice still had a nice al dente texture and the overall flavor was okay, it just wasn’t outstanding.
Braised short rib, sprout tops, pickled walnuts and polenta was a much better choice. The meat was tender and in a tasty sauce, that was on the thick side. Polenta was set and cut into rectangles which may or may not be to your taste. I prefer runny polenta but I thought this mixed nicely with the meat. Carrots were quite good but the fried bits of greens were fairly heavy. Overall it was a good dish and definitely the better choice.
We ordered a side of Hashed potatoes and Lyonnaise onions to with the two. The potatoes were quite good but I thought it was short on onions.
For dessert we both tried the red wine prunes and vanilla mascarpone. The mascarpone is heavy but worked beautifully with the prunes. One portion could have easily fed 2 people but no mistake here, it was delicious. The prunes were absolutely tender and well flavored. Even the juice the prunes floated in was good and great mixed with a dab of mascarpone. It was a winner and a good finish.