Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, 3/16/10 - Tre Trattoria

Date: 3/16/10
Restaurant: Tre Trattoria
Location: 4003 Broadway, in the uber-chic Alamo Heights part of town, right next to the Witte Museum WHICH HAS A DINOSAUR EXHIBIT ZOMG.
Executive Chef: "Hi, I'm Chef Jason Dady. You may remember me from such other San Antonio restaurants as Bin 555, The Lodge of Castle Hills, Insignia, and Two Bros BBQ!" To be fair I haven't reviewed any of those others yet, but oh boy am I gonna.

It's a two-fer Tuesday! We kicked off in style at Tre, which I selected because it has a delicious-looking and really reasonably priced lunch option, 3 courses for $20. This includes your choice of salad, your choice of homemade pasta, and their signature dessert.

But I get ahead of myself.

Tre as it is seen by the outside world. Tavis as he ought not be seen by the outside world.

If I had panned more to the left (as maybe I should've), you would see the Witte Museum. If I had panned more to the right, you'd find at least 3 of the other 52 restaurants all in this same Boardwalk area. Good eats run in packs, apparently.

Check out that focal piece! BaDOW!

Impressions of the decor: neat, unique without being kitchy, really comfortable seating--and way too empty! This place should've been considerably more packed for how nice it is and how busy the Witte was at the time. For shame, Antonians, come get your eat on! (Maybe pass on getting your delicious-but-super-overpriced Bellini on, though.)

Our waiter Nick, who by the way was awesome, rattled off the day's specials and recommendations. Tavis opted for the 3 course; I chose the chef's daily panini. More on that in a minute.

We first had to work our way through...
...wait for it...

BOOM, baby! What a healthy blob of cheesy goodness. I almost want to smack it on the bottom and give it a name.

We just ate it instead.

Side note: this wasn't on the regular lunch menu but Nick the Awesome asked them to make it for us anyway. It IS available for dinner though, and will probably go out to movies with you afterward if you ask real nice.

Side note more relevant: while oily, salty and delicious, I think the flavor of Dough's cheese bar was more remarkable. The bread really stole the scene here, grilled in what was probably a combination of oil and bacon fat by the rich amazing flavor. I think if I ordered cheese again--they had other options, including Parm and Pecorino Romano--I would order some of their house-made cured meats as well. That would be fabulous.

Oh Bellinis. You are so tasty. But you are also $12 a pop. No one should have to make that choice.

Tavis's salad, greens in red wine vinaigrette. It was exactly as it sounded, no frills or other ingredients. Snooze. Also, I bit into a peppercorn and had to down half of the Bellini in desperation.

My daily panini, a play on a BLT. It was comprised of bacon, arugula, tomato, smoked cheddar and some of their salami. Tasty, though I would've preferred more filling to the amount of bread. Their salami really shone through, terrific flavor that I would eat all day if it were readily available. My salad was the same as Tavis's, so I mostly ignored it.

If my panini was a take on a BLT, Tavis's Pappardelle and Bolognese was in essence a seriously jazzed-up Hamburger Helper. It was an unfortunate resemblance that really doesn't do the Pappardelle justice. I adored it--sweet yet spicy, hearty, cheesy. I would've gobbled his up in an instant. It was just a tad spicy for Tavis so he didn't enjoy it as much as I did. Such a shame.

There are about 7 options for pasta if you also share Tavis's aversion to heat, and I would definitely try them all.

Here's an example of how Nick the Awesome is Awesome. We were waiting for our entrees, no great impatience--it seemed like a reasonable amount of time had passed--and Nick stopped by our table and said, "Hey, I went and gave dirty looks to the guys in the kitchen to speed it up with your entrees. They should be right out, but for making yall wait, the manager is going to go ahead and buy your dessert for you." Um, sweet?

Ohhhh yeah, sweet. This is their seasonal crostada, currently filled with red plums and served with a caramel chantilly (whipped cream). I was in heaven. This was one of the best desserts I've ever had. The pie crust was buttery and flaky, the plums juicy and tender, the chantilly the perfect creamy contrast. I sent my appreciation to their pastry people in the back.

And then there's their signature dessert, Nutella X3. You know with a name like that, it's gonna be good. (Unless you're one of the bizarre people in the world *cough*MOM*cough* who don't like Nutella, in which case go back and ogle my crostada again.)

Dense, fudgey Nutella cake covered in Nutella sauce, with a crenelle of Nutella mousse alongside. Holy hazelnut, this was a stunner. And soon there was nothing left on the plate to show it had even been there in the first place.

Returnability: high! I enjoyed everything a little bit more than Tavis for some reason, but there were enough options on the menu that I'm sure I could wheedle him back to try something new. The service was spot-on--thanks, Nick the Awesome!--and the price was very fair unless you indulge in bar treats. Go see the dinosaurs at the Witte and stop in for dessert. You'll thank me.