Gino's Grill 

On one plate ...

Check to make sure Gino's Grill is packed before you take a date there. Unlike other restaurants at which you hope to get food before your stomach eats itself, you want Gino's Grill slammed or you risk having to dis your date to entertain the wait staff instead.

I have no idea how much water I drank at Gino's because the bus boy topped off my glass nine times in one hour. The waiter also visited my table more than any waiter in any restaurant in any country in which I have eaten. The food was tasty but seriously, at Gino's on a weekday evening, my friend Steph and I couldn't carry on a conversation for more than three minutes without interruption. Yeah, we actually clocked the attention.

Boise is lucky to have two Gino's restaurants that are in the same building on 8th Street that both offer Italian food prepared by Gino himself. The food is authentic, loosely reminiscent of actually dining in Italy. The Grill is a newer extension of the Ristorante; the menu has some of the same upscale Italian fare but it also has pizzas, different specials and a more casual atmosphere.

Steph and I ordered the fried calamari as a starter. It came out in a nanosecond, before we had time to scarf the bread and pepper oil on the table. This was dang good squid-salty, tender and not just O's but tentacles as well, fried ever so lightly and gone in 60 seconds. Little salads came with our meals, which pacified our crying over the high-priced entrées. Quick as a whip, I've got my chicken parmigiana and fettuccini while Steph confronted the butternut squash ravioli in burnt butter, one of the daily specials.

Both servings were perfect size, enough to eat but not too much to finish. The chicken was standardly breaded, sauced, cheesed and placed beside a mound of saucy noodles. Steph's ravioli was unique and delish, buttery, firm and the big winner of the night.

I'll eat at Gino's Grill the next time I'm thirstin' for good Italian food. But only if I'm feeling lonely that day.

-Jennifer Gelband needs to concentrate whilst she dines.

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