Piacere Mio gets menu, remodel, thumbs up !
Former South Park coffee shop becomes cute, neighborhood trattoria.
“A lack of coziness.” That’s what I identified as Piacere Mio’s “main weakness,” fourteen months ago, when the place was just a coffee shop.
Fast-forward through a prolonged closure/remodel, and the place has transformed into something wonderful. Better lighting, more uniform table seating, and a modern vision of classic Euro cafe style give the place a full complement of coziness, more than enough to satisfy the aforementioned lack.
The full menu of Italian trattoria fare doesn’t hurt, either. It’s seafood-heavy, with dishes like octopus and potato salad ($8.95) and clams in tomato broth ($8) populating the antipasti menu. Beef carpaccio ($8.50) appears alongside, bringing a generous portion of aged beef, lots of lemon juice and olive oil, and a pile of crispy rocket. As carpaccio goes, this is a good one!
The kitchen churns out lots of handmade pasta, in good portions, and at fair prices ($11-$14). The build-your-own section is five pastas and nine of your favorite sauces (bolognese, ortolana, pesto, et. al.) for any taste. They do plenty of ravioli, and the one stuffed with smoked salmon and served with a saffron sauce looks phenomenal. One of their specials, ravioli stuffed with radicchio and pancetta served with a sage butter, came across a bit intensely on the sage, but delighted otherwise. There is just something about hand-shaped ravioli that delights the little kid inside and the hungry adult alike !
Ditto for dishes like the linguine with clams ($14); a huge portion of perfectly chewy pasta, with a bit of a kick, drenched in briny clam sauce. Plump, tender shellfish hid themselves throughout. Sure, it’s a simple dish, but done about as well as it could have been. Pasta is enough, but the menu hosts a run of “secondi” for anyone with a big appetite. There’s plenty of wine, too, and the above-average house wine in 1L carafes for ~$20 is a screaming good deal. Eat here, and you’ll be a looking at a heavy table, laden with buttery food, and about a hundred bones out of the pocket. Piacere Mio falls heavily on the opposite side of cutting edge, but the place is cute, well run, and totally legit in terms of the kitchen’s basic cooking skills. You couldn’t do much better for a neighborhood pasta dinner, and you could certainly pay more for an authentic italian restaurant.
© By Ian Pike - San Diego Reader - Aug. 9, 2014