By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
Which is what brodetto alla livornese holds (lobster, that is, in the rock variety) in tandem with shrimp, mussels and clams in a shellfish and saffron broth. Seafood was good, but the broth was tepid.
A better seafood backdrop was the fettuccine with rock shrimp. It was sown with thick flat noodles that were perfectly cooked. The shrimp weren't plump and firm. These coils were more varied and complex in a texture that was heightened with a rich marine flavor. They were mixed with capers, sun-dried tomatoes, basil scraps, mushrooms and kalamata olives in a light wine sauce.
But like the barstool blemish, the menu had dismaying moments as well. If there is a menu installation that must be precise, it's beef carpaccio. Mi Piaci's version arrives as a creamy layering of tangy Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shingles applied over raw beef sheets with arugula scattered over the expanse. But instead of cool with rosy hues, the beef was gray, and its flavor was flooded with an off sweetness, the kind that signals decomposition may have stepped into the starting blocks. How could a diligent chef let such a glaring lapse slip through the kitchen filters? Especially in carpaccio, in which the sensual pleasure rests in the laciness of the thinly sliced rosy meat that disintegrates in the mouth?
Risotto with porcini mushrooms and asparagus was a ruckus, too. Instead of an elegant creamy mound or dollop carefully settled in the center of a bowl, this had stiff, coarse grains strewn haphazardly over a plate. Pan-seared sea bass with bell pepper and fava bean sofrito (a sauce with olive oil) was spongy and flaccid.
Dessert was redemption. Tiramisu was a perfect square of light, fluffy and consistent texture with rich flavors that never descended into a soggy swamp peat. Panna cotta fragola, a creamy custard, was tight, firm and luxuriously smooth.
After a dozen years, Mi Piaci is still fresh and relevant with clean modern lines that effectively channel sun and candlelight until the room sparkles. The main dining room is dominated by a wall of windows overlooking a pond with embedded jets, framing vigorous fountain sprays shooting in all directions.
Here's hoping Mi Piaci is immune to the danger of the slow drip.
14854 Montfort, 972-934-8424. Open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturday. $$-$$$