Sensi - An RVA Treasure

    A while ago I received an offer from Groupon to purchase a $40 Sensi deal for $20. I jumped on it. I've been hearing about how wonderful this place is for ages - especially their risotto (thank you The Marinara).

    We thought the night before Weston left would be the perfect time to use the coupon and so we slipped into our fancy clothes and got ready for a night on the town.

    First off, Sensi is located in a really gorgeous area - it's right in line with the River Lofts, an apartment complex Sharon and I wanted to live in but the price tag and the railroad in close proximity deterred us. Sensi is decorated impeccably - rich red and gold colors, slate floor, cool hanging chain around the bar to isolate the area, and an expansive dining area complete with a private area in the back. We met a really cool couple while waiting for our table and they raved about the food.

    Weston and I wanted to try a few plates since we heard the pasta is made in-house: we'd also previewed the menu beforehand at home. To start, we ordered the daily risotto (goat cheese with lamb), the gnocci with sausage and tomato sauce, the ribeye steak with roasted potatoes and haricots verre, and for dessert, the cream puffs.

    So here's a breakdown - as objective as possible:

    The bread here was good - especially the focaccia. They serve it with a basil tomato olive oil dipping sauce. That sauce is gooooood! Don't feel bad if you finish it all: we didn't.

    The risotto was @s$& awesome. Yes, that good. Super creamy, the right consistency - definitely homemade and delicious. I'd eat a plate of that - in fact, I will next time. They served it with marinated lamb. The lamb was cut really thin and the flavor on the sauce was great. The two complemented each other perfectly. My only critique is it was a little salty, but that's a personal preference.

    Our next course, the gnocchi was also yummy - the restaurant was really accommodating in that we were able to order the primi piatti portion instead of the full entree portion. Some pieces were cooked more thoroughly than others but it was fine because Weston and I were sharing and so we each got a mix of both. They were served in a light marinara sauce and with fennel sausage. Very good, homemade, but not as amazing as the risotto. Just a side-note here: I preferred the gnocchi dish at Acacia myself.

    Our final savory course was the ribeye steak. We ordered it medium rare but it wasn't exactly there - slightly overcooked, but there was a 15 table private party so I think the kitchen was a little short-staffed. The flavor of the steak was good, but hard to appreciate since it was dryish. It also came out pretty cold - and for all you readers wondering why we didn't sent it back - we just weren't going to do that on a busy night. It wasn't awful and we were happy enough to keep it. The potatoes were a weird consistency - hard but in a crunchy way. I think they'd been cooked and then roasted but they dried out too much. The green beans were yummy - I'd do well with a side of those alone. We pushed aside the mixed butter but it was a nice touch.

    Dessert time! Unfortunately, this course was the one I didn't like the most. Italian style cream puffs - clearly this had been plated beforehand and placed in an icebox. The puffs weren't crispy, but gummy. There wasn't much cream inside and the chocolate sauce was gritty. The strawberry dots on the plate tasted a little like that stuff that comes out of the can.

    While discussing the meal on our way home, Weston and I both agreed that the meal was good. Very good. But based on the risotto alone - it held the meal. The steak wasn't earth-shattering. The gnocchi was good but not as memorable as we thought it would be while eating it. We'll probably go to Sensi again, on a night when they aren't trying to feed 60 people short-staffed and by no means am I saying I did not enjoy myself. The waitstaff was impeccable and the food was delicious. Were there a few points we'd like a do-over on? Yes? But when it comes to Sensi, a do-over is not a bad thing. I'll take an excuse to visit again.

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