It seems like everywhere I turn I run into Francesco Cusimano. If he’s not at his Rustico Ristorante & Pizzeria, he’s catering at Robert Renzoni Winery. Just last week I ran into him at the soft opening for Masia de Yabar‘s new tasting room in Old Town Temecula. It’s hard to believe that on the 29th of August, Rustico will celebrate its 6th anniversary. Last night Laura and I decided to go there for dinner. We handed the menus back to Shannon, our server, and asked Francesco to cook whatever he felt like making. Good decision.
First up was the Marco Polo, a chopped salad featuring spinach, pancetta, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella with Italian dressing. It was absolutely delicious, nice and light and a perfect way to warm up our palates for what was coming. He brought out an Arancini, fried risotto with Fontina cheese and pancetta. It was golden brown, extremely tasty and really hit the spot. It’s not on the menu, but he often offers it during happy hour. He said he hoped we were hungry, because chicken and seafood were coming.
Shannon brought us Chicken Carciofi and Linguine Frutti di Mare. The Carciofi was a sautéed breast with artichokes in a white wine sauce. The Linguini was topped with shrimp, scallops mussels, clams and salmon in a tasty tomato white wine sauce. Everything tasted fresh and was seasoned beautifully. The presentation, service and food flavor were wonderful.
We saved a little room for dessert, and Shannon delivered Cannoli and Crême Brulée with espresso. We devoured every bite. Francesco is an easy going gentleman who takes a lot of pride in delivering a quality meal to your table. With 15 years in the restaurant business, he wants to take you back to a less hurried time, where you can spend some time enjoying your food and some conversation. He also prides himself on Rustico’s wine list, offering many many Italian wines you may not be familiar with.
Rustico Ristorante & Pizzeria is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week at 29940 Hunter Road in Murrieta. (951) 698-5151