Itlaia Trattoria - Review 8/5/10 by Mack Salmon at spocool.com
#SpoCOOL: Italia Trattoria
Is it fair to review an establishment the same week they opened? Many will say "no" and those same many will therefore be wrong. It doesn't matter if a restaurant has been open for a day or a year; if customers are to cough up their hard earned cash for a meal they have a right to do some research. Mainstream media, blogs, restaurant review sites… Should a potential customer have the desire to read reviews before going to a place, that is their prerogative. I still firmly believe that anybody with more than an average interest in food should ignore reviews, and figure things out themselves, of course, but that's a different discussion. And, of course, any spot that gives a poor first impression in their early days should be revisited and reevaluated.
Then there are places like Italia Trattoria. Places that run almost flawlessly after a week of being in business. This is the kind of standard new restaurants in Spokane should strive for. Heck, Italia Trattoria's standard is the kind any restaurant should strive for.
For the most part the spot captures the true trattoria feel perfectly. Italia Trattoria feels laidback and casual, with plenty of hearty Italian dishes. The service is friendly and quick and, thankfully, professional. The food, magnificent, the kind of authentic cuisine you get in a classic trattoria.
I tried the Barollo (I thought it was spelled "Barolo" but whatever) braised pork cheeks which were truly delicious. The cheeks were perfectly braised; nice and tender; not too fatty. The chard came as a very flavorful companion. A pork lover's dream, in other words.
Top That's gnocchi, too, was stellar, and a good contender for the best gnocchi in town. Served with a roasted tomato sauce, nice and chunky, this was the type of authentic Italian cuisine Spokane sorely has been missing. Yet, thankfully, no more.
The tiramisu was a bit different than any other I have had. It's hard to explain, but give it a shot anyway, as it was good. The flavor was exactly what I had expected, in fact, it just wasn't layered the traditional way. Which is just fine. The panna cotta was A+. Flavorful and refreshing, served with a nice biscotti.
All the dishes were reasonably priced—$20 for the most expensive dinner item—and just the right size. No Olive Garden bottomless plates to be seen. Thank god.
The only thing that put a small damper on the experience was the same issue Cafe Marron had: The table were placed way too close together. Now I'm all for an intimate dining experience and all, but when each table tried to drown out the others by yelling… Well, it got a bit ridiculous. Remove a few tables, and everything would have been so much better.
There is no excuse for not trying Italia Trattoria. None whatsoever. This is as close to a perfect trattoria we have in this town or, for that matter, most other places. Run out to Browne's Addition now and try it, otherwise the Communists win.
(Photo courtesy of @andrewzahler. Used without any permission whatsoever!)