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Sopra Antipasto and Wine Bar fills and fulfills 

click to enlarge The creamy mushroom polenta shouldn’t be missed here. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The creamy mushroom polenta shouldn’t be missed here.
When Franco Pisani told us about Sopra Antipasto & Wine Bar back in March, he called it a spot for appetizers, small plates and desserts. It was supposed to be a place to pass plates with friends or grab a drink before dinner downstairs at Paravicini’s Italian Bistro, the spot Pisani’s run for 14 years. Having visited and dined twice, I’m not sure that’s accurate. The portions, by and large, are big enough to fill on their own.

On both occasions, we dine on the patio, which boasts the Springs-requisite glorious view of the mountains, comfortable and especially desirable at sunset and a fine reminder not to take Colorado’s natural beauty for granted. Our first visit, we opt for the burrata-and-prosciutto and sausage-and-peppers plates. The former, a ball of luxurious BelGioioso burrata atop Cento prosciutto, comes with arugula, tomatoes, kalamata olives and some seriously delicious Calabrian extra virgin olive oil. Make use of the complimentary bread and cracker basket for quality bites. In the latter, hot Italian sausage from Sarah’s Sausage in Palmer Lake gets cooked in onions, plus bell, cherry and pickled banana peppers, presented in a bowl with tomato sauce, pleasant acidity perking it up. There’s enough food here to fill two sandwiches. It seems a solid choice for low-carb diners, too.

On second visit, we’re craving polenta; they have three options. We go with the roasted mushrooms and gorgonzola, minus the gorgonzola cream sauce, as my dining companion has an allergy. We’re still thoroughly satisfied by the rich and creamy polenta, which bears yellow oyster, shiitake, crimini and portabella mushrooms. There’s pancetta, but we can’t recall it. We’re too taken with the savory mushroom aroma, especially when we discover the reservoir of garlic at the bottom of the bowl, which gives the dish new life. It isn’t to be missed.

The carpaccio delights as well, with rich, raw tenderloin under capers, red onion and Parmesan. Pisani replaces traditional lemon with a roasted garlic mustard crema, not at all Italian, but a fine pairing with the beef nonetheless.
Location Details Sopra Antipasto & Wine Bar
4 S. 28th St.
Old Colorado City
Colorado Springs, CO
344-8119
Open 4-10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays; until 11 p.m.Fridays and Saturdays
Italian
Cocktails pair fine too, but at $12 each, we expect a degree of refinement the bar does not show at any point. The 28th Honey does fine as a porch sipper, blending Spring 44 honey vodka with Aperol, sour mix and soda, though there’s not much bitterness. We’re fine with the house Paloma’s Exotico tequila-led sip, but a little more citrus from the Campari, Italian orange soda, lemon and lime would be nice, though, lacking actual grapefruit, it does get some of the expected bitterness. Our Negroni, based on Spring 44 gin, comes Campari-heavy and bitter.

As dessert drinks, the $8 Nutty Italian does fine, Frangelico caramel notes and Bailey’s leading the way with hazelnut syrup pushing the overall flavor toward toffee notes in the Americano, made from Barista Espresso beans. For price alone, it’s the winner out of what we sample. We might instead suggest sampling the massive wine selection or one of the many port or grappa options.

For dessert, go for actual dessert. We dig the watermelon panna cotta. The fruit provides plenty of sweetness for an otherwise creamy-savory custard, topped with toasted almond slivers and basil, delicious and refreshing, especially on a hot day. And with that view from the patio, well, it’s an experience.

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