Dolce Veloce is officially a cicchetti and wine bar, but that's no reason not to take the kids. In fact, the first item on the cicchetti menu — pizza cones — is the very reason you should take the kids.
Shaped like an ice cream cone, the pizza crust is filled with what usually tops a pizza. The cones come with four stuffing/toppings — pesto and cheese, tomato sauce and cheese, mushroom and spinach, and sausage and pepperoni. One near-teen pronounced the Margerita (tomato sauce and cheese) “deeelicious” — once it had cooled a bit.
The grown-ups may enjoy the pizza cones, too, to go with their choice of wine, for Dolce Veloce has an impressive list, reasonably priced by the glass (starting at $5.99) or bottle (starting at $18.99).
But there’s also a list of fascinating-sounding cicchetti (small snacks or side dishes) to tempt, either to nibble or to combine for a more substantial meal.
If the list is overwhelming, the waitstaff will gladly talk you through the offerings, though it may seem as if each one is a favorite dish (and that well may be, having tried a few).
First, the offerings are grouped by price. The cones are $5.99, followed at $6.99 by a choice of nine different panini.
As you move up the price ladder, the choices take on more variety. Among the $7.99 dishes are several salads, including Panzanella Tuscana, the classic Tuscan bread salad with peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives; Arancini, fried rice balls stuffed with cheese and meat; and Buffalo Mozzarella, served with a fig wine reduction and candied pecans.
For $8.99, the choices include platters of assorted salamis or cheeses, fried calamari, and two don’t-miss dishes: Rolatine di Zucchini and Tore di Mozzarella.
Both dishes are cheesy, but both are delicious. For the rolatine, thin slices of zucchini are wrapped around a stuffing of fontina, ricotta, parsley, mozzarella, parmesan and romano cheeses, then baked. The Tore, or tower, consists of alternating layers of mozzarella, roasted red peppers and roasted eggplant, topped with a fig balsamic reduction.
All of these dishes are ideal for sharing. One side dish or snack size is not quite enough for a main course, but two may be too much. Two people sharing three different dishes works well, and also expands your ability to try different dishes.
Another alternative is the cicchetti tasting for two ($40), either seafood (sepia, fried calamari, crab cakes, capacente, Gamberi oreganata, and garlic aioli bread) or meat and cheese (Rabolo, Parmigiano Reggiano, Gorgonzola dulce, Cacciatoni, prosciutto di Parma, Sopresetto, and mortadela di Modena, served with grapes, apple and crostini).
If the kids are not with you and you want to enjoy both food and wine at your leisure, take your server’s advice about wine pairing, especially if you took suggestions about dishes to order. It seems a lot of thought (and tasting) has gone into coming up with ideal pairings.
You also might want to leave the kids behind for happy hour, 4-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, a good time for tasting different wines and sampling some of the foreign brews that also are available, but also plan a return trip at a when kids can enjoy one of those “deeelicious” pizza cones.