Diners seeking a delicious meal, comprised of inventive, healthy northern Italian fare, should look no further than in Newport Coast. Owned by restaurateur Gianfranco Bertolino, a three-course, prix fixe summer menu will be offered through Sept. 30 for dinner daily for $24.99, per person.
The regular a la carte menu, enhanced with special dishes each evening, will also be available.
"We are a truly northern Italian restaurant," Bertolino said in a recent interview. We serve cuisine that is very healthy and flavorful at the same time."
Whether it's the selection of antipasi, such as the guazzetto di calamaretti, which are sauteed in a light tomato sauce with black olives and capers, or any of their pastas, such as the gnocchi modo mio, which are potato dumplings in a tomato pesto and cream sauce, or the tagliatelle verdi con pollo, which is a spinach pasta with free range chicken, arugala, fresh tomato and sun dried tomato, there's wide range of tastes to experience. Most of the pasta is made at modo mio, and they also offer various meat entrees.
"What we do is pretty unique," Bertolino said. "Besides having homemade pasta, which is very special, the homemade pasta is what we use for our lasanga as well. We do offer whole grain pasta with omega-3 added. We also offer gluten free pasta as well. We’re very mindful for people who have dietery restrictions and allergies."
Bertolino said they are strong with their veal and risotto options as well.
At Modo Mio, dishes are created without butter, cream, corn syrup or monosodium glutamate, or MSG. Salt use is also kept to a minimum, as the emphasis is on fresh ingredients that taste great and are good for diners. The chefs use extra virgin olive oil, California produce (including organic options), hormone- and antibiotic-free, free-range chicken, wild seafood (including Alaskan salmon and whole Branzino from Greece), and all natural, grass-fed premium angus steak from Creekstone Farms.
Bertolino adds that each dish is made-to-order, for each diner, and that neither kitchen has a microwave oven or a deep fryer. This healthier fare is appreciated by many of his diners, who include some famous faces, he adds.
The three-course, prix fixe summer menu, includes:
First Course: The choice of insalata di rucola (arugula and shaved Parmesan tossed in balsamic vinaigrette) or insalata modo mio (mixed baby greens, shaved fennel, fresh mozzarella, and roma tomatoes, tossed in balsamic vinaigrette).
Second Course: The choice of one of the following: Ravioli di pollo (house-made ravioli, filled with free-range chicken breast and fresh spinach, served in a roasted Roma tomato sauce), linguine alle vongole (fresh clams, sauteed in white wine, garlic, and onions, tossed with house-made linguine), battuta di pollo (thinly-pounded free-range chicken breast, sauteed in white wine, fresh lemon, and capers), lasagna (house-made pasta, layered with minced fresh vegetables and herbed ricotta).
Third Course: The choice of one of the following house-made desserts: Apple Tart (a Bertolino family recipe, made with fresh apples, and served warm with a hint of lemon zest in an almond crust), tiramisu (espresso-soaked lady fingers, layered with mascarpone cream and shaved chocolate), chocolate pecan tart (decadent flourless chocolate tart, with chopped pecans on a crushed graham cracker crust, served warm and drizzled with a vanilla bean sauce).
For more information on Modo Mio and their wine selection, visit their website. They offer free corkage Monday through Wednesday. Modo Mio Cucina Rustica is located in the Crystal Cove Promenade at 7946 East Coast Highway.