By Michele Polci, CPCE, CMP & Lisa Lynn Backus, CPCE, CMP
With a name like The Sparklings Restaurant we were not sure what to expect. The Sparklings set out to accomplish a mission, create a neighborhood place that is classy but not fancy. South of Rainbow, just past the 215, is clustered with a variety of restaurants. Just a few blocks past all that you will find The Sparklings. The menu profile addresses the lack of Italian and American cuisine in the area. The menu mix is mindful of that along with including all the others favorites we enjoy in our neighborhood haunts. Upon entering and walking passed the other diners enjoying their meals, we were certain they have more than accomplished their objectives. The majority of the dining tables are set in a large, open and bright space. Seating is a mixture of booths and tables with comfortable velvet chairs. There are a number of areas for larger groups to dine that were tucked away into their own alcoves. We were also impressed by an expansive communal table. The night that we were there a large group of ladies were having a birthday party. Sparklings had a great residential feel with hutches and china adorning the space. One of us felt as though we were in a perfect mid-century modern eclectic establishment. We were in a mood to eat and decided we needed a bit of everything. One of us loved the gorgonzola flatbread with honey. The flatbread was perfect with the right amount of texture and crunch. The sweetness of the honey complimented the gorgonzola. The roasted beet and apple salad was light and delightful. We had to try the bacon and dates wrapped meatballs. The bright tomato sauce worked nicely with this. It just started to get cold out so we decided to order soup. One of us loves clam chowder and to the surprise of both us was a welcome take on a heavy soup. It was light and had very pleasant flavor. While we had decided on pasta for our entrees, we were intrigued by the Rice Au Gratin with Chicken. It was creamy and decadent. One of us had the Crispy Gnocchi and enjoyed the nice snap from the pan sauté. They were tossed with a pesto cream, Italian sausage, peas, and crushed candied walnuts. We had to stop ourselves from eating the whole thing. We also went classic with the Spaghetti and Meatballs. We knew we had meatballs already but we just had to indulge. It was perfect and on point. So did The Sparklings meet our expectations? Absolutely. Not only was the food wonderful, the ambience was great. It was relaxing and you can have great conversations without loud music and TV’s taking center stage. The bar area was also intimate and inviting. And believe it or not there is no video poker or smoking. The Sparklings is a hidden gem… and that’s what she said.