It’s been quite some time since I last visited Prego, and the first at the new location at Tustin District. Chef Ugo Allesina has created a special Seafood Season menu featuring a selection of beautiful seafood, which launches this coming Monday, Sept 23rd and runs until October 6th. I was able to preview the menu this week, and am happy to report that it is one not to be missed. Here is a look at some of my favorites:
Cozze Del Marinaio ($15) sees Santa Barbara black mussels prepared in a broth of white wine, garlic clam juice, with a pinch of chile flakes. Make sure you ask for a spoon to get every last bit of the delicious juice at the bottom of the bowl. Whatever you’re not able to scoop with the spoon, can be soaked up by the accompanying crisp Tuscan bread. You won’t want to waste a drop of this liquid gold.
Carpaccio di Pesce ($17) is a plate of thinly sliced center-cut swordfish, topped with lemon, fennel, Calabrian chiles, ginger, and thyme. The ginger is a clever addition, lending a bright and spicy kick to the aromatic fennel and lemon.
Another favorite of mine was Zuppa di Pesce ($19) brimming with Manila clams, mussels, scallops, shrimp, and calamari. The light tomato broth is scented with garlic and basil, making it not only flavorful, but also, fragrant.
When it comes to pasta, there’s nothing I love more than clams. Linguini alla Vongole Veraci ($25) is a generous bowl of Manila clams in a light garlic, white wine sauce tossed with perfectly al dente linguine pasta. A jumbo fresh-water prawn completes this incredible dish.
I am usually disappointed with restaurant gnocchi as it tends to either be too dense, or too mushy. That’s not the case with Gnocchi Portofino ($25), Chef Ugo’s house-made potato dumplings enveloped in a creamy pesto, dotted with sauteed shrimp and sun-dried tomatoes. The gnocchi is pillowy goodness, its texture, absolutely sublime. It is some of the best gnocchi I’ve had in a very long time.
Another stand-out is Filetto di Pesce Bianco Milanese ($26) panko-crusted white fish lightly dusted and pan-fried. The fish is so moist and tender, with an amazingly thin, but crispy crust. I am very familiar with vitello di Milanese, but this is the first time I’ve had it using fish. The refreshing arugula salad served alongside is fantastic, with a bright and tart lemon dressing which cleanses the palate between bites, or, eat them together like I do.
The special menu runs for two weeks, so make sure you get to Prego to try at least a couple of these.
2409 Park Ave
Tustin, CA 92782