Monday, July 19, 2010

Trattoria

A lot had happened since this post. For the complete story and review, please read this review instead.

I have been rather hesitant about blogging about Trattoria, an Italian restaurant on West 4th Ave, by the famous Glowbal Group. A months ago, this restaurant was a dream come true.  I had been waiting to bring Peter and Helen to this restaurant, so they can take gorgeous photos to go with the gorgeous food, but there has been a menu change for the summer, and the new dishes are atrocious.  It was the undoubtedly the best Italian restaurant in Vancouver.   The Great had fallen.  I died a little inside.

The first time I went to Trattoria, I was with my entire family for brunch, without my camera.  We started the meal with a refreshing margarita with fresh fruits and freshly baked asiago scones with mascarpone whipped cream (free). (4.5/5) The scones were an instant hit with the table, even with my very picky mother, who asked for a second plate.  For appetizer, we shared a huge plate of Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio. (4.5/5)  The plate with beautifully decorated with with gorgonzola polenta and cipollini onion.  My father who had years of experience eating carpaccio in Europe said it was just as good as the best beef carpaccio he had in Italy: pretty big claim for a notoriously judgmental eater. For main course, Spaghetti with Kobe Meatballs was absolutely delicious. (4/5)  It had layers after layers of exciting flavours and zing and the huge meatballs were moist and tender.  The "Big Breakfast" and Lobster Linguini weren't anything special to write about. (2.5/5)  My father had the gnocchi made from potato (not flour). Finally, someone was making gnocchi properly!  Thank God! The gnocchi had the proper consistency and doneness.  The sauce was slightly under seasoned for gnocchi, but A+ for effort! (3.5/5) Dennis had Lamb Sausage Pappardelle. Ladies and gentlemen, this was the 5/5 dish.  The dish has layers and layers of different flavours, the perfect balance of herb and spices with the lamb's unique aroma, and the freshly made pappardelle was the perfect texture for the sauce.

Since that meal, my family was addicted to Trattoria.  Collectively, we spent about a thousand dollars dinning there within 4 weeks.  I did remember to bring my camera on my second (and third) visit.

The service is definitely a solid 4.5/5.  The hostesses are smoking hot, and waiters are well versed in the dishes and the wines.  I picked their brains a little by asking them to pair the baked clam with a white. The waitress was impressively knowledgeable about the wines and the science behind pairing. She recommended a B.C. sauvignon blanc and brought me a two-ounce sampler (free!).   It did paired perfectly. Services were always well timed and stealthy.  When you go to the washroom, they would fold your napkin.  They don't neglect you after the main course, a common problem in most restaurants.

This is a daily special on one of my visits there.  It is a Roasted Leg of Lamb with Butternut Squash Risotto. The dish did not come with a knife; you don't need it.  The meat fell right off the bone and into the delicious sauce underneath.  Each bite of the sauced up lamb and risotto sends goosebumps down to my toes.  This was something you need to enjoy with your eyes closed. (4.5/5)

The mussels were great.  Pizzas were delicious too! The dessert was pretty good and decently plated (3.5/5).

Ambience (3.5/5)
I love the decor of the restaurant.  It is sexy, modern, and ambient.  It is suitable for all occasions: causal dinning, formal dinner with your in-laws, or even a good place to come as singles to flirt at the bar.  It is not too loud or too crowded.  The seats are luxurious and comfortable and everything are clean, sturdy, and sleek.

I went back three weeks ago and they have changed the menu.  The veal dishes were terrible, sour, tough, and borderline unpalatable. Lamb Sausage Pappardelle was gone (why!!??) and replaced with a different lamb pasta that tasted like my Chinese minced pork on a very bad day. Conchiglion was under-seasoned and tasted like a mouthful of plain heavy cream.  I died a little inside with each bite.

At this point, I would not recommend anyone waste their money, time (they don't take reservation for dinner) and calorie intake until the menu is changed again.  If you happened to eat there, the spaghetti with meatballs are still on the menu as well as the mussels and pizzas.  Avoid the veal dishes.

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