While we are on an extended trip, Date Night continues our series on interesting places to eat off of the interstate system in Georgia. Tonight, we visit Ristorante da Maria, which is just off Exit 54 on Interstate 16. Maria and her husband Heinz own the Dublin Farm bed and breakfast, which is a four-room unit attached to the restaurant. It’s a fun place to stay. Bring some friends and spend the weekend. That’s what we did.
The restaurant is only open on the weekends. You will need a reservation if you go. Maria teaches cooking classes here during the day. Let’s see what’s she’s got on the menu tonight.
The menu changes every weekend, so your choices will vary. It’s a price-fixed meal at $39 per person plus the cost of your wine, and you know you will drink some. That’s why it’s a good idea to stay in the B&B.
We start things off with a rotolini di prosciutto.
Prosciutto is stuffed with an Italian salad, which has vegetables, salami, mustard and herbs. It’s served with a crostini.
My date does not love prosciutto, but the salad inside the roll-up makes her eat the entire serving. I thought I was going to get some extra, but alas, it’s just too good. Here’s another dish I could eat a lot more of.
It’s a spring lasagne stuffed with vegetables, pesto, and cheeses. I could have stopped here and been perfectly happy with my meal, but there’s more good things coming out of Maria’s kitchen.
Tonight, there is a choice of three entrees. We choose two of them.
The rotoli di manzo is chuck roast stuffed with mushrooms and pancetta, then slow-roasted in a red wine sauce. They had me at the sauce. The meat is tender and the dish brings back memories of our Italy trip in 2010. Eve’s dish is simple, yet elegant.
It’s chicken scaloppini with the same sides of potatoes, broccoli and snap beans that are on my plate. It’s thin, flavorful, and masterfully prepared by Chef Maria.
Between courses, we get a treat.
The mixed fruit sorbet comes in a glass. It cleanses our palates and we are ready for dessert.
Maria’s take on tiramisu is strawberry. Tiramisu is usually coffee-flavored, which makes this a fun surprise. It’s light and fruity. Speaking of coffee:
We wanted to close this review with a picture of the espresso cups. Have you ever seen a cuter cup?
The bottom line on Ristorante da Maria: Molto benne! You have to keep pinching yourself and ask, “Am I really in Dublin, Georgia?” If Maria was cooking in Atlanta, this would be the hot spot for home-style Italian cooking. She’s near Dublin, though, so you are going to have to go on a road trip to visit. Get a posse together and spend the weekend. Take a cooking class, or go explore Dublin. Tell Heinz we said hello.