Grilled Hearts of Romaine at Ventano Italian Grill and Seafood

This authentic Italian eatery’s specialty adds a smoky twist to the traditional Caesar. Hearts of romaine are lightly coated with olive oil and given a quick sear, leaving the lettuce with a sharp, grilled flavor. The dish is perfectly balanced with a topping of rich and creamy gorgonzola crumbles and a generous helping of paper-thin slices of imported prosciutto that seem to almost melt in your mouth. It’s a fulfilling lunch or a perfect starter to split with a friend. $10.50, 191 S. Arroyo Grande Blvd., Henderson, 944-4848.

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Bread Basket, STK

Dishing With Grace

Bread Basket, STK

By Grace Bascos

Some say it’s a sin to fill up on bread before a meal, but this starter at STK is worth paying that penance later. The soft, doughy bread arrives warm to the table, ready to be pulled apart. Soft blue-cheese butter is slathered all over the top, making for a rich and funky spread that is punched up when you dip a piece into the accompanying chive oil. The combination of the flavors infused through both oil and butter is explosive and decadent. Complimentary, in the Cosmopolitan, 698-7990.