I love Restaurant Week! It's a chance to get out and experience some new foods or simply enjoy a long overdue night out on the town.

Last night, my husband Tom and I headed over to Cortese Restaurant on Robinson Street. At the end of the night, I assessed that Cortese is not just a place to eat, but an experience. It is loaded with atmosphere! The staff is very warm and right on the money with everything.

Tom and I were greeted by Kim, the manager on duty. She was very pleasant and ran a smooth ship. We were handed off to long-time server Sue. She explained some of the dishes available and helped us choose a wine, as well. It was refreshing to see a server that knowledgeable about the menu.

Tom settled on a petit filet mignon with a salad and baked potato. As an appetizer, he had the chicken and rice soup. I can't speak for him, but my hubby seemed to be extremely content with his food!

Lee Ann Taylor

I had mozzarella sticks as an appetizer and a salad. The main course was salmon with a homemade honey mustard glaze. Oh my was that great!

Lee Ann Taylor

The salmon was cooked to near perfection and the amount of glaze was just right. (I like a little extra to dip with). I should mention that the mozzarella sticks were not overly gooey or too hot. Again, perfection.

Lee Ann Taylor

I am pretty fussy with food. How can you enjoy something that burns your mouth or has to have time to cool? That was not an issue at all. The courses came out well timed too. We didn't have to rush to finish. We could relish each in our own time. I think that's the advantage of going to a heritage restaurant, they have done it for so long that the timing is well done.

Onto dessert. I had the brownie a la mode and Tom had vanilla ice cream. Since I was bursting at the seams, I was grateful the portion was not huge.

I said earlier that dining at Cortese was an experience and it's time for me to explain. Between the lovely and in sync staff, the lighting that was dim but not so much that you couldn't read, the course coming out in a relaxed but not "where is my food?" slow, the food being above expectations and the tables being separated just enough so conversations are not overheard it truly was an experience.

This is why Restaurant Week is worth doing. I never would have known how good Cortese was if not for it. Get out and experience Restaurant Week! My next stop: lunch at River Bistro on Thursday.

My Cortese rating? 5 out of 5 stars.