I had an opportunity recently to stop in for dinner at Maranello, a cozy and attractive restaurant located in the heart of Fair Oaks. Open for just a year, Maranello offers an upscale, sophisticated dining experience that has clearly been embraced by locals – the place was packed the evening we visited.
The menu, a creative take on New American Cuisine, features a number of intriguing items. I was impressed with the kitchen’s imaginative fritto misto – battered and quick-fried rock shrimp, baby fennel, cauliflower florets and lemon slices, served up with an interesting bacon aioli; and the spicy fennel sausage and sirloin meatballs, perched atop crispy polenta rounds, were a toothsome nosh – especially when paired with a glass of sturdy red wine. Other dishes we enjoyed included a plate of roasted hazelnut prawns, composed on a mound of balsamic-cherry braised chard and spaghetti squash; and a rich, creamy butternut squash and pancetta risotto crowned with chicken confit. The best part of the meal, however, was the excellent, attentive service – staff members couldn’t have been more helpful or welcoming.
8928 Sunset Avenue, Fair Oaks, (916) 241-9365; http://maranellorestaurant.com