Totus Tuus, Tratto!

In December of 2012, we moved a stone’s throw from Town and Country on Camelback and 24th Street. It was a short-lived, glorious time of dates to one of Chris Bianco’s restaurants called Italian Restaurant. They offered salads, homemade pasta and amazing entrees. There was a pasta dish with roasted broccoli, fennel sausage and the most amazing cream sauce that I would habitually order. When Italian Restaurant became another Pizzeria Bianco location I was probably one of the few disappointed patrons, as most people go bonkers for his James Beard award-winning pizza.

I was delighted to learn he was opening another non-pizza restaurant. A few weeks ago, Jamie and I finally made a visit to Tratto. It’s next door to Pizzeria Bianco at Town and Country and has the same charming, simple atmosphere that I love. At the conclusion of the meal I declared it my best meal of 2016. “Better than Thanksgiving,” I declared to our waitress. I wasn’t exaggerating.

Tratto’s menu is set up like a traditional Italian menu. There’s the antipasti course, the primi course, the secondi course and the contorni course, which is basically a side dish. We were told it’s best to order one from each and share.

For our antipasti we shared a green salad with a simple vinaigrette and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. It was an enormous serving with very generous amounts of that superb cheese. We were each able to have two small plates’ worth of salad.

Our primi was a kind of pasta called tortelli. This is similar to a very large tortellini and it was stuffed with the softest ricotta cheese I’ve had in my life. I didn’t take a picture of the menu, so I don’t remember what kind of sauce it was. Suffice it to say, Jamie and I were shamelessly scooping up mouthfuls of the sauce long after the pasta was finished.

Our secondi was two perfectly marinated, glazed and roasted pieces of pork. I really feel like I’m coming off as some overly enthusiastic fan girl, but it was honestly the best pork I’ve ever had. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. We ordered a roasted eggplant as our contorni. It was smoky and earthy and went well with the pork.

We weren’t planning on imbibing any alcohol, but we broke down and asked for two glasses of the house red. It’s hard to resist drinking wine when you’re out for Italian food. I don’t know who made it or how many points it gets but it was full-bodied Cabernet—dry and damn delicious.

They did have a traditional tiramisu on the menu, but I was stuffed and didn’t want anything to replace the taste of the pork we had just consumed. Now, I’m usually a dessert person. I rarely turn it down. That is how much I enjoyed that meal.

If you’re lucky, Chris Bianco will stop by the restaurant to check on things with his young family in tow. He’ll be sporting his mad scientist hair and perhaps cradling the sleeping dollop that is his young son. And he truly is a mad scientist—albeit of the benevolent, non-villainous variety. He is passionately devoted to his craft of creating a meal comprised of ingredients from local food artisans. “For Chris, the food is a result of his relationships and his intention. Relationships with the farmers, the local producers, his family, customers and staff; and the respect and sincere intentions he approaches his recipes with, as well as the many interpersonal relationships that have influenced his philosophy and who he is.” All in all, a delightful evening that I hope you will find the time to treat yourself to soon.

Between the two of us eating four courses and one glass of wine each, we spent $130 with tip. This is not a weekly habit with us, but I can say I’d rather go to Tratto once a month for an amazing dinner than go out once a week to any chain Italian restaurant.

Jamie described our experience to a friend as sacramental—conveying more in one word than I can in many paragraphs.

Alishia Hanson