Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tre Venezie

Insalata di uva; tortelloni al rabarbaro e prosciutto
Trattoria Tre Venezie, 119 W. Green St., Pasadena; tel. 626-795-4455

OVER THE YEARS THE RESTAURANT THAT CALLS ME MOST SEDUCTIVELY in Los Angeles is a small, comfortable, quiet, fragrant place on Green Street in Pasadena, just off the main drag. It's easy to get to; it's easy to park; best of all, it's easy to sit in this civilized dining room with its books and bottles, with its detailed and expansive menu, with, ultimately, its intriguing, authentic, unusual cuisine.

Simply approaching the restaurant on the street is reassuring. It's a quiet street with a narrow, tree-shaded sidewalk, and the entrance to the restaurant is from a dogleg through a small courtyard: you're slowed down by steps as you approach the restaurant.

The Restaurant is Tre Venezie, specializing in the cuisine of northeast Italy, a cuisine that triangulates among Italian, Slavic, and Austrian cuisines. Wikipedia explains:
The terms Tre Venezie or Triveneto (literally "Triple Veneto"), refers to the three regions of Veneto (before 1947 Venezia Euganea, united to Friuli) Trentino-South Tyrol (once Venezia Tridentina) and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
There's a good review online: take a look at it. Notice particularly the final paragraph: this restaurant is steeped in humanity. It's not about making a statement, or even making a dollar (though I'm sure that's important). It's about living well.

There were five of us at table, ordering four first courses, four pastas, one meat course. Every dish sounded fascinating on the menu; each one arrived as described but revealing unexpected pleasures. For one thing, every dish announced itself with its fragrance: Sarah's linguini subtly scented with cinnamon, my tortelloni with their cheese and prosciutto; Lindsey's bigoli.

We didn't order many desserts: too bad. Sarah had gelati, mango and strawberry; Lindsey had a kind of half-bonet-half-crème brulée. They were absolutely delicious. I had a Nardini grappa flavored with almonds. Delicious.

Pinot grigio, Collio, 2005

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