I was recently offered an opportunity to dine at Modo Mio Cucina Rustica in Newport Coast. Admittedly, I had heard of the restaurant before but didn’t know too much about it except for the fact that it was located near Crystal Cove and specialized in Italian cuisine, so I was excited to check it out.
Modo Mio is located inside the Crystal Cove promenade center and has a cozy, intimate feel. Booths and tables are located close to each other and it’s quite evident that many of the people that dine at Modo Mio are regulars since everyone seemed to know each other.
Once we were seated we were presented with delicious freshly baked bread and better to enjoy while perusing the menu.
To start our meal, we ordered the Scamorza, which was one of the specials of the evening and was smoked mozzarella and prosciutto wrapped in lettuce and then grilled and topped with fresh bruschetta.
I can’t rave enough about this appetizer. It was amazing. The smokiness from the mozzarella paired perfectly with the prosciutto and the grilled lettuce was the perfect finishing touch. Our waiter told us that this used to be a regular antipasti on the menu, but due to it’s unusual name, people were reluctant to order it and instead it became a special that was only served on certain evenings. I personally want to start a petition to get the Scamorza back on the menu because it was that good.
We also enjoyed some marinated mushrooms during our appetizer course, which tasted especially delicious on top of the bread.
For the main course, I went with the Batuta di Pollo, which was thinly pounded chicken marinated with lemon, herbs, and capers and served with potatoes and vegetables on the side.
Since Modo Mio doesn’t use heavy cream or loads of butter in their cooking, this dish was quite light while still being loaded with flavor.
The Englishman went with one of the specials of the evening and ordered the Sea Bass which was prepared in the same fashion as the Batuta di Pollo and came with potatoes and vegetables as well.
The sea bass was nice and flaky and cooked perfectly. Both of these dishes reinforced the fact that you don’t need heavy creams and sauces to create a delicious meal.
Since we were at an Italian restaurant, we felt it was only appropriate to order some pasta, so we went with the Rigatone alle Melzane, which was rigatoni pasta made with tomatoes, eggplant and ricotta.
I’m a big eggplant fan, so I loved this dish. The sauce had a nice flavor and wasn’t overly seasoned which was nice. The Englishman is not a big fan of eggplant but loved this dish as well.
Then it was time for dessert. I was immediately drawn to the Tartufo, which was a chocolate gelato with crushed hazelnuts.
Since gelato is one of my all-time favorite desserts, I loved the tartufo. I mean does it get any better than chocolate and crushed hazelnuts? I think not.
And because no meal is complete without Tiramisu, we ordered one of those as well.
I’ll admit that tiramisu is not my first choice when it comes to dessert, but Modo Mio’s version was very good. If you are a tiramisu fan, I definitely recommend trying their version.
If you are ever in the Newport Coast/Crystal Cove area, I definitely recommend checking this restaurant out. It’s has a nice home-cooked Italian meal feel to it and the prices are definitely reasonable. I also love how owner Gianfranco Bertolino focused on more Northern Italian dishes on the menu. If you are looking for the standard pizza and pasta dishes, you won’t find it here. Instead, you’ll find creative Italian dishes focusing on fresh meats and vegetables, which in my opinion, is the way to go.
Many thanks to Modo Mio for inviting us to dine at their restaurant. I know I’ll be back, and will be asking for the Scamorza again.