With the number of Porteños having Italian ancestry being only second to Spanish you’d think the city would have a wealth of quality Italian restaurants. And although almost every restaurant in the city, whether it’s a steakhouse or an ice cream parlor, has at least a couple of pasta dishes on the menu, finding well executed Italian food is surprisingly difficult. This is even truer if you’re looking for something other than ravioli and lasagna.We’d heard good things about L’Adesso in Palermo Soho. But, of course, we’d heard good things about El Baqueano and Green Bamboo that were two of the worst meals we’ve had in recent memory. So reputation is not always a good indicator.L’Adesso is a small restaurant with a single dining room seating about 35 to 40 diners and a large back garden area and terraza that could seat more. It was winter when I visited L’Adesso so the back terrace was closed.The décor in this place is somewhat lacking. They must have spent the decorating budget on the wine inventory, or perhaps an oven for the kitchen. Wherever the investment went, it was not into the décor.Would the food and service be lacking as well? Short answer. No. They were both stellar.The tables are elegantly set with white table cloths. On being seated, a basket of about four different types of bread and bread sticks was brought by the waiter. Each piece (and I sampled all four varieties) was hot, fresh and delicious. This was a good omen for things to come.And within a couple of minutes a tasty little bruschetta was offered as an amuse bouche. The bread was toasted and hot, the toppings were fresh and delicious. And just as much care was taken with the presentation of this little gem as you’d expect from the main course. The waiter even drizzled a little extra virgin olive oil over the top at the table.Impressive.I had ordered a risotto for an appetizer. I had just recently published an article on how difficult it was to find a properly prepared risotto in Buenos Aires. I was curious as to whether this risotto would miss the mark like so many others. It not only hit the mark, it pierced the target dead center.When I ordered the risotto, the chef who was watching over the dining room and talking with diners (a nice touch, I might add) approached my table and indicated the risotto would be prepared slightly al dente. The menu further indicated that it would take 20 minutes to prepare the risotto. This was a good indication that I would not be disappointed. I indicated the chef that he should prepare it as he normally would. What I was served was a beautiful, elegant and creamy rice dish, lightly flavored with a mild gorgonzola, and garnished with sweet little slices of pears and walnuts. This was a unique and creative version of a risotto, perfectly executed. My only complaint is that the walnuts had a slightly peculiar flavor (which is a very common occurrence in South America). The main dish was three unique cuts of lamb, prepared three different ways. There was a small piece of braised leg of lamb, fork tender, in a rich and delicious pan sauce with braised chestnuts. Wow. An outstanding start. I decided to fully eat each variation on the plate before attacking the next.Next up was the single little rib from the rack of lamb, although a very meaty and plentiful little rib it was. It was sitting on a flawlessly prepared polenta, creamy on the inside, crisp and bearing grill marks on the outside. And a wine reduction, reduced to syrup consistency. This rib was an absolutely perfectly cooked to a medium rare, something not so easy to achieve. And the flavors were outstanding.The final preparation of the lamb was the tenderloin of the lamb, sliced and elegantly placed on a creamy potato mash. And yet another delicious sauce to accompany this preparation.I’m going to say this in no uncertain terms. Order this dish when you visit this restaurant. With the appetizer and three preparations of the lamb this batter scored four home runs with just four at-bats. That’s a remarkable batting average.Hurrah for L’Adesso. Were it not for the very average décor, this restaurant would likely be in our list of the top five restaurants.
There is a description of the menu items on the website, but no prices posted. There’s a form for sending an email to request a reservation, but cannot attest to how the restaurant responds to the mode of making a reservation as we used a third party reservation system, Restorando. We recommend you do the same. The service was excellent, and the execution of the menu was as good as any Italian-food restaurant we’ve visited. The prices are well below other upscale Italian restaurants in the city, resulting in a high score in the Value category. For Italian cuisine in a slightly upscale, albeit uninspired setting, it’s a shoe-in for the top spot in the city. For a more casual outing read our review of Cucina Paradiso.