Tucked into a small shopping center off Highway 111, Mimmo’s doesn’t call out to passing appetites. But in the evening, especially on weekends, seats in the cozy restaurant are precious. Most people who eat once at Mimmo’s eagerly return, and likely will tell their friends that they have found some of the best Italian meals for miles around.
What makes Mimmo’s so great? The answer, simply, is Mimmo and Victoria Di Salvo, the couple whose families’ recipes are the foundation of the kitchen. Mimmo himself is a hands-on restaurateur always on premises, taking care of business in the kitchen and dining rooms. He seems to know almost every customer. Ask him to describe any dish on the menu and he rhapsodizes: about the pasta made in his kitchen, about the heirloom tomatoes in his salad, about the wild Baja shrimp in seafood dishes, about why his chocolate sponge cake is better than lady fingers for making a more elegant tiramisu.
After a few multi-dish sit-downs at Mimmo’s it is hard to recommend any one thing. It’s all good. Especially notable are silky gnocchi, anything that uses house-baked bread (wonderful bruschetta!), grilled polenta topped with wild mushrooms, seafood in any form (especially the shrimp), fork tender veal chop Parmesan, and dessert. Ahh, dessert: do save appetite for a square of tiramisu, made with chocolate sponge cake rather than ladyfingers. Mimmo explains that he feels ladyfingers lose their body too soon when they are soaked with coffee and liqueur. His sponge cake, although light and fluffy, remains cakelike when thoroughly sopped. Likewise, mascarpone cheesecake is significantly lighter than typical clay-like cheesecake. A panna cotta crown and drizzle of berry sauce make it impossible not to finish … and want more.
Although the location is common, the experience of dining at Mimmo’s is refined: linen nappery, polished service, beautiful presentation of every dish, and, at night, romantic candlelight.