Destinations Magazine

Il Ridotto in Venice and Da Tura in Mestre: We're Not in Kansas Anymore Dorothy. (Pix to Follow, Unfinished)

By Johntalbott

Il Ridotto (in back, that is East, of St Mark's) is a place an Italian-American correspondant who's lived here a lot touted me onto two years ago.  It's chef'd by Gianni Bonaccorsi - a guy who you either hate (some Dudes on the Internet) or love (me among them.)  Last time I came he and I chatted for hours about Paris restaurants and like stuff.

So, I was really looking forward to this lunch at 2 PM (rez made so I had plently of time between Marco Polo airport and him.  But of course, Air France was an hour+ late, there was a transportation strike in Italy and I had acquired two more years of aged aging, blown out knees and cardio-pulmonary deterioration.  So I took a cab from Marco Polo to my hotel in Mestre (sorry Colette for blowing the family fortune), stood in a long line to buy a train ticket and schlepped over the bridges and canals to M. Bonaccorsi's second resto, described by my friend as "where he kicks up."

Enter - Sweating, panting, gimping - "Hi, I'm Mr Talbott - I''m 15 minutes late, I'm sorry."  Plongeur sticks head out door, sous-chefs scatter and wait-guy says "Well then, your reservation, ahhh, Mr....." We don't seem to have one and besides that we're closed, Another time then."  At this point I go into full 'old guy trying to make the best of it' mode.  "Jeez, I'm alone, lonely guys finish fast, I won't eat much,..."  The guy takes pity.  "Ok but one person, one dish" looking in back of me to see if the swarm of gypsees in the Campo SS. Filippo E Giacomo was following me in.

Menu - lunch - "what are the specials?"  "A no, Monsieur, one dish off the evening carte."  "OK, the rabbit with teeny artichokes and diced potatoes."  Sublime.

We negotiated a bit of Chianti, bottled water, a corrected coffee and with superb bread and a sort of white pizza flat bread, the bill was 41 E.  I walked home a happy man.  Never say the Italians won't bend the rules.

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