Monday, November 30, 2009
Adriatico Trattoria Italiana
I've probably been to Adriatico a half dozen times since it opened a few years ago. So this one is long overdue.
Thinking about this restaurant brings two things to my mind: fantastic food and great wine. We had family dinner at Adriatico last week a few days before the holiday to get ready for the mass amount of food we were about to consume over the next few days.
Sitting down we were immediately presented with three apps: Bruschetta al Pomodoro, Calamari alla Napoletana and Mozzarella Caprese. Sounds like your standard fare of Italian apps, right? But the first bite will make you realize why Adriatico stands above the rest. It's all about the seasoning. Anyone can make bruschetta: bread, olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and basil. Same goes with Caprese. But what I find in restaurants is that most are afraid to season. In my mind, salt and pepper do not belong on a table because, well, guests should not have to use them to season food. Most people do not realize that salt should not be utilized to make food more salty, but to enhance and accentuate the flavors already present in the food. It's the same with acidity in wine: too much can be overwhelming, but not enough will lead to a flat and one dimensional wine.
Point being, the apps popped with flavor and were delicious. And it's probably worth the trip just to try the Neapolitan sauce that is served with the Calamari.
I ordered the Filet with Artichokes and Barolo reduction for my entree. (See above.) And you know what? They also cook a great steak! Perfectly medium rare in another flavorful sauce, I literally ate everything on my plate. My only negative comment is the inconsistent knife cuts that made the carrots look odd and the potatoes either over or undercooked.
We also enjoyed our favorite wine offered at Adriatico-the Zenato Ripassa. Quick wine lesson: Ripassa is from the Valpolicella region in Italy (near Verona). Translated as "re-passing", the wine is passed over the lees (solids) of a wine called Amarone. It leads to a very rich wine with stewed dark fruit flavors that really compliment full bodied Italian entrees.
So next time you're near College Park, I'd recommend that you drop by and have dinner. The restaurant itself is comfortable, non-pretentious and always dependable.