Sunday, June 29, 2008

Now That's Italian!

So we actually found a good Italian restaurant down here. It's in Troutman of all places - which is sort of random - but it is nonetheless, actually good.

It's called Pellegrino's Trattoria and the owners are from New Jersey and all owned several Italian restaurants up there. Many of their ingredients are sourced from New Jersey and they even make their own mozzarella on site.

Marty & I ate there last Wednesday and it was only their second day being open. In fact - with no air conditioning, no curtains on the windows and still waiting on their wine delivery it was more of a soft opening but the place was still packed. Besides being a tad warm, the biggest problem was that the staff was not 100% familiar with the menu and our waitress messed up on 2 of our dishes.

I wish I'd paid more attention to the menu so I could describe it in detail but rather than recite the menu, I can tell you what we ate.

First of all, the bread was really good. Crunchy on the outside, doughy on the inside with a nice dusting of semolina, it reminded of the good bread we used to get up in Hoboken.

My salad was fine - nothing to write home about. Marty ordered a Caprese salad to start (mozzarella and tomatoes) but the waitress got confused and brought out a prosciutto stuffed mozzarella that was fried and served over mixed greens. It was actually delicious and we were grateful for her screw-up. Marty eventually got his Caprese which was simple yet delicious.

I had ordered a side of broccoli rabe with my entree. Although you see lots of dark leafy greens down here (collard, dandelion, mustard, chichory, etc.) you don't ever see broccoli rabe which I absolutely love and could eat by the pound. It came out on its own (the timing in the kitchen was a wee bit off - another pitfall of being there during a soft opening) and it wasn't bad. The biggest problem was that the rabe didn't have a lot of flowers on it. But besides that it was well cooked.

Marty had shrimp parmigiana for his entree. I didn't taste it but I will take his word for it that it was good. I had ordered a veal dish that was supposed to be breaded, topped with mozzarella and prosciutto and served with tomato sauce. I apparently confused our waitress when I ordered it by it's name on the menu (vitello maximillian or something like that) and she wound up bringing me a veal dish with prosciutto, shiitakes and served in a brown sauce. It was actually still very delicious and although even though it wasn't what I ordered.

I can assure you that Marty and I will be back within a few weeks. There were a number of tasty looking pastas on the menu (a number of people were eating the lasagna which looked awesome), home made pizzas (which also looked awesome) and because this is in Troutman, NC - they have the prerequisite hot wings.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...