gracecheung604 | write on time: Charlie's Little Italian - The New Habit

Monday, October 21, 2013

Charlie's Little Italian - The New Habit

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After Habit closed, the Cascade Company resurrected the place as Charlie's Little Italian. It's a much more casual place than before, and serves up traditional Italian fare. A group of us decided to visit last month, and I was pleasantly surprised. The menu has about 20 dishes, excluding sides. There are lots of antipasti, pastas, and a few meaty mains. They do have daily specials that helps to break up the monotony for regulars. IMG_4419 Upon being seated, we were given a few complimentary servings of Fried Bread. This is topped with a bit of parmesan, a sprinkling of chillies and some herbs. The flavour is really mild, and the bread is just a touch oily, but the chewy texture won me over. It's a cross between pita and naan. IMG_4421For starters, we tried a few of their Antipasti, the first to arrive was the Mussels Arrabiata. The tomato based broth has some roasted red peppers in it, as well as a light touch of chilli. The flavour is quite light, and allows the sweet ocean flavour of the mussels to come through. The mussels were quite meaty and the foccacia was perfect for mopping up the extra sauce. IMG_4422
A special of the night was their Burrata. It looked super unctuous and creamy, and the pairing with the slightly bitter greens really helps to cut the richness of the cheese. The grilled bread was a perfect "plate" for this appetizer. IMG_4425 One of the things I love about eating Italian is their penchant for having a pasta as a Primi. Because I can't actually have a pasta plus a Secondi, the folks at Charlie's were nice enough to split their full serving of Linguine Carbonara into two appetizer-sized servings. There was a creaminess from the free-range egg and the guanciale gave the entire dish a smokey salty flavour. The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente, but man, it's rich. I'd recommend splitting this with a friend as an appetizer because a full plate of this would easily put you into a total food coma. IMG_4433 Of the seven pastas Charlie's serves, our waitress told us that only two are actually made in house. I was a little surprised, but nevertheless, this is one of the two, their Lasagna. The layers are filled with three types of meat; pork, beef and sausage as well as some mushroom. The cheese layer has ricotta as well as hints of spinach. It's rather traditional but I loved the multitude of layers. When I make this at home, I am lazy and only do three layers, meat, then cheese and then more meat. I was surprised by the presentation, I had expected it to be served in their own baking dish. The oil on the plate also threw me off. IMG_4432 The only other pasta that is made "in-house" is their Cannelloni. It's a rich dish loaded with everything you get in the lasagna, minus the three meats. The sauce is a pomodoro and is lighter that the lasagna sauce. I'm not a fan of stuffed pastas, but the consensus was that this was actually pretty good. 
IMG_4431 One of the Secondi items we tried was the Game Hen. For this entree, you are served a breast of hen as well as a leg. Although it was supposed to be a confit leg, there wasn't any crispiness to the skin, although there was plenty of flavour. The potato gnocchi is seared well and develops a nice crust. Beneath the hen are bundles of kale and soft, roasted red peppers. Other than the skin of the leg being rather soft, the dish was a winner.2013-10-11 19.41.10 As I mentioned earlier, they do have a few specials each night, and tonight, they had a Pork Chop. This was served with a Roman Gnocchi, essentially a regular gnocchi with a touch of ricotta. The texture of the gnocchi was a lot creamier than the regular gnocchi and actually reminded me of polenta, but with a crust. The pork chop itself was a bit fatty, as you can see on the right hand side of the plate. Once you remove the fat though, the rest of chop was really juicy. The mushroom flavoured sauce was creamy and earthy, I could have used more of it, to soak up the gnocchi.

Take Note:


  • Service is good although some staff aren't as knowledgeable about the menu as you would hope.
  • Dinner nightly and Brunch on weekends. 
  • Menu is limited but a good start for now.

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2 comments:

  1. Anonymous5:40 PM

    Hi. My friend told me about your blog and also "Cooking With Mr. C." on Facebook, which I just "Liked". I'm so glad when people share blogs with each other. Denise

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    1. Thanks for coming and reading! Hope you enjoyed.

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