Monday, December 06, 2010

Saturday, November 27th - Trattoria Italian Kitchen - Stylish Comfort

Garlic Toast, Salt and Oil for Mozzarella Taster

The thing about Vancouver, like many places I've lived, is that if you aren't from Vancouver, neither are most of your friends.  As welcoming and friendly Vancouver seems, I think it's more of a Canadian thing than a West Coast thing.  Vancouverites are friendly.  If I am lost or need assistance, someone will lend a hand.  So as a visitor many years ago, I thought well, it will be easy to make friends here.  Well, I find that those who grew up here are like the central gang on Seinfeld.  They're full up on friends and are not accepting any new applicants (unless you date in).  They'll hold a door open for you though :^D.  That means, like in the other places I have lived, that your friends often leave to move on or go home. 

S and G are sadly moving back to Montreal.  They're a great food loving, wine adoring couple friends of ours.  As part of their rather rapid farewell, tied to the sudden movement on their real estate, they were doing the rounds on their favourite eateries before heading east.  They love the Trattoria Italian Kitchen.  They mentioned that they used to come alot more often on Tuesdays on their Ten Dollar Pasta night.  I had never been.  I'm rather fussy about eating out for Italian.  I like to know if they make their pasta in house.  Otherwise, I think to myself that I could stay in and that drives D nuts.  He could eat pasta everyday.  :^D  The Trattoria does not but the pasta was not the highlight nor lowlight either.  Though if they did, wow, that would be something, hint hint hint.

Their menu starts with an entire sub section dedicated to fresh Mozzarella.  You can order from a selection of bruscetta, where you will receive two toast heaped with a carefully selected combination of flavours or you can choose a Mozzarella Taster where they give you three different varieties and styles of fresh Mozza with Garlic toast.  We did both.

Mozzarella Taster
 The three Mozza's come in very fresh and soft to slightly more firm and slightly medium, Bufala, Burata(soft one in the middle) and Fior de Latte.  The cheeses are served with Garlic Toast, Olive Oil and Coarse Salt. It was delicious.

Burricotta - Radiccio, Spiced Walnuts and Mozza
We also ordered the Burricotta which was Grilled Radiccio, fresh Cheese, spiced Walnuts, Rosemary and Honey. It was lovely and mild.   I think I preferred just the tasting though.  We washed that down with a refreshing Prosecco.

Fried Brussel Sprouts with Lemon, Capers and Parmigiano Reggiano
We ordered some vegetable sides with our mains.  Some steamed Baby Vegetables (behind the sprouts) and their stellar fried Brussel Sprouts with Lemon, Capers and Parmigiano Reggiano.  Unbelievable.  D did some digging around the internet and found the recipe on line.  He did it for me because Brussel Sprouts are hands down MY FAVOURITE vegetable and he HATES them.  But he liked these.  So he thought, if I could do them like this at home, he'd moan less about eating them.  Watch for the posting soon, maybe even at Christmas :^D
Orecchiette with Fennel Sausage, Rapini and Peperoncino
D ordered something from the specials because he's a sucker for something big and meaty served on the bone.  He had the Ossobuco with Risotto and braised Vegetables.  It's funny.  It was the only glich in the evening though still handled in stellar service.  We were told several minutes after our starters were clearned and our wine served, that our mains would take longer than usual due to a back log in the kitchen.  We very much appreciated than rather than waiting in mystery.  I speculated that it was actually a shortage of the enamel pots they were using to serve the Ossobuco.  He thought the meat was tender, and the Risotto a tad soft but not mushy.  He did comment that he thought the portion was rather small and that is something for D to note.
Ossobuco on Risotto Special
G ordered her all time favourite, Orecchiette with Fennel Sausage, Rapini and Peperoncino.  The portion was healthy enough that D had to reach over and give it a taste.  Their pasta is not over dressed nor over seasoned and well cooked.

S ordered his favourite, I guess as a farewell, as well.  He had the Kobe Meatballs with Spaghetti with Tomato Basil sauce, topped with herbed Ricotta. As part of the Glowbal group, you can also get these Meatballs on their own at Glowbal Afterglow as well.  For you carnivores, these apparently merit making the must have in Vancouver ...or before you move list. :^D

When a restaurant does not make their own pasta, I prefer to order stuffed pasta or gnocchi.  The Gnocchi, however, was served with Peperoncino which sounded pretty essential to the dish.  G laughs when I ask a server 'how involved is the meat' when inquiring whether I could easily extricate the offending ingredient.  I opted instead for the Linguine Gamberini.  Gamberini is a garlic shrimp sauce but the Trattoria adds roasted Tomatoes, Capers and Olives which made it sound more like a Puttanesca.  I was a tad worried that it would be too salty as almost every Puttanesca is because lots of folks tend to season on top of already salty Capers and Olives.  This was not at all.  It was very well balanced and seasoned.  D dug into my dish as well, :^D.

It goes without saying that since Tiramisu was on the menu, it was going to be ordered. Luscious with the Mascapone and a lovely sauce and a Biscotti on the side. Busting at the seams, but no regrets on the indulgence. 

Cost: $$$ - $$$$ (but they do have $10 Pasta Tuesdays and Wine Wednesdays!)
Service: Stellar
Ambiance: Bustling, slightly loud

Trattoria Italian Kitchen
1850 W 4th Ave
Vancouver, BC V6J
(604) 732-1441

Trattoria Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon


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