A Look at the Brand-New Workers Lunch Lineup at il vecchio Starting Monday
January 16, 2013
When il vecchio (324-4282) burst onto the Pagrovian scene back a year and half-ish, their intuition for sturdy and flavorful Italian balanced with fun and affordability immediately earned our readers votes for Best Italian in Monterey County—and almost won them Best New Restaurant of the Year. (Restaurant 1833 deservedly claimed that.)
It certainly won them the Weekly's attention, by way of enthusiastic review by Jeanne Howard and In Your Dish food video by Joel Ede and me.
They haven't stopped engineering ways to put tasty values in bellies, most recently with the bargain set menu Monday-Tuesday L’ Avventuras in Cucina.
And now they're taking that model to the midday hour with pranzo de lavoro, or "workers lunch," for $9 ($6 kids 10 and under) plus tax and tip.
Weekdays noon to 1:30pm, lunch includes the salad of the day, and both pasta-leaning dishes (one vegetarian), brought table side and served family style—polentas, risottos, spaghettis with a range of savory ingredients. All the pasta is DeCecco imported from Italy.
"Everything about il vecchio is about carrying on the very old tradition of the Roman trattoria, which prepares a very limited number of dishes, brought to your table," owner-operator Carl Alasko says. "With lunch it's no frills, low price and get back to work.
"I'm not creating anything. I'm just carrying on what they do over there."
Here's the menu, which will be repeated every week. Some ingredients may vary. In each pairing, the second dish (*with an asterisk) is vegetarian.
Monday • Penne al boscaiolo with Molinari sausage, mushrooms, peas, zucchini, light cream • Spaghetti al pomodoro with house-made tomato sauce, fresh basil, parmesan*
Tuesday • Farfalle al ragu di pollo, aka butterfly pasta with chicken, onion in tomato sauce • Polenta with three cheeses (mozzarella, parmesan, gorgonzola)*
Wednesday • Risotto Milanese: Canaroli rice in house-made chicken stock and mushrooms • Spaghetti con pesto built with fresh basil, walnuts, garlic, parmesan, light cream*
Thursday • Penne contadina with chicken, broccoli, onions in a white wine treatment • Mezzi rigatoni: short pasta with grilled eggplant, garlic, pecorino*
Friday • Spaghetti con pesce e cozze with rock cod (as available), mussels, white wine sauce • Polenta con verdure with roasted vegetables, tomatoes, parmesan, percorino*