Megan Baxter’s series, “12 Last Meals in Greenville,” documents the food lover’s farewell to our city. Check back each week for the next installment.
Jianna: Megan’s idea of a perfect ‘last meal’
My fantasy last-meal order changed after my first visit to Jianna. I can’t even remember what I used to say when asked the question before. For the record, I would like an order of Jianna’s ricotta crostini, all to myself and eaten with the restaurant’s beautifully speckled ceramic tableware and soft, cotton napkins. The ricotta, soft as a dream, floats in a pool of golden honey, flecked with crystals of sea salt. Using a petit spoon, this cheese can be spread, scooped, or stacked onto the open face of ciabatta slices that have been grilled a crisp, smoky brown. The cheese melts away in your mouth, and first the sweetness of the truffle honey, then the sea salt, pop up, followed by the charcoal memory of ciabatta.
Dining with a view:
The building that houses Jianna was remodeled in 2017. From Jianna’s balcony, you can see the illuminated fountain at the entrance of Falls Park and the cables of the Liberty Bridge glowing in their spotlights. The city takes on a festive feeling at table level from the balcony perch, seeing the white lights strung in the trees along Main Street.
Megan’s last Jianna meal:
Grilled Baby Octopus, Ricotta Crostini, Fusilli, Gelato
For our last meal at Jianna, we dined on the ricotta appetizer. We also split grilled baby octopus, so tender it broke under the tines of my fork, served with arugula and fennel slices. For my main course, I ordered fusilli, carefully twisted pasta made in-house and served with spicy sausage, prosciutto, a zing of tomato, and nutty Grana Padano. Each piece of pasta in my lovely ceramic bowl had started in the kitchen as a small ball of dough that had been rolled flat and then twisted to form a corkscrew shape. Crispy bits of sausage and prosciutto got caught in the twirls so that each bite was perfect.
Going the extra mile:
All pasta at Jianna – from linguine and fettuccine to extruded noodles like tonnarelli – are hand-rolled daily. The house-made pastas pair perfectly with traditional Italian favorites like burrata, spaghetti, and char-grilled octopus.
What to order:
Chilled Market Oysters: East Coast 14/26 or West Coast 18/34
Jianna Cocktail and Hot Sauces, Moscato Mignonette
Charred Corn & Ricotta Agnolotti / 12
Crispy Ham, Peaches, Roasted Peppers, Ham Brodo
Bavette Steak Tagliata / 27
Potato, Crimini Mushrooms, Kale, Salsa Verde
Spaghetti TBG / 18
Garlic, Roast Tomatoes, Basil, Grana Padano