Il Trullo is the long awaited new Italian restaurant attempting to replace the much loved and missed Bella Napoli on Water Street. I had been watching the ongoing work on the restaurant and hoping for a place that leaned more towards authentic regional Italian cuisine than the more common Cal-Italian style that is easier to find in the area. My first dinner experience was very positive and this place may be a worthy successor in this space.
In a major carb fest I went for a double primo meal and started with the Stracciatella. This roman classic is a very simple dish of egg/parm/semolina dumplings in broth that I figured would be a good test of the kitchen. They really nailed this one with very light dumplings (they are more like a cross between egg drop soup and dumplings) and peas floating in a very delicate but flavorful vegetable broth. One of those subtle dishes with very few ingredients that just works perfectly.
For my main pasta I went with orrechiete with pancetta, broccoli and breadcrumbs. This was also done very well with a proper condiment to pasta balance making the pasta shine. The largish bread crumbs gave nice textural contrast and another layer of flavor.
Unfortunately they comped my table a fine but who cares Tiramisu so I did not get to try the chocolate salami :(. It looked really cool so I will have to get this next time.
I also managed to steal bites off a few plates. Bucatini Carbonara was very good though the eggs had set a touch and I thought it needed more pepper but since they ground at the table this was done to customer preference. I also liked my taste of the bean/tuna salad (rather large portion of this app) and a ceci soup in a tomato broth though I thought it needed more salt. A lamb dish with peas and egg sauce seemed to be less successful. While the lamb had good flavor, the eggs and peas had set into almost a frittata. I have not had this dish before (Its also classic Rome, right?) but was under the impression than the eggs were used a liason to thicken the cooking liquids?
I also got to meet the new chef who is apparently from Puglia (where the beehive shaped houses that give the restaurant its name are located) and I can vouch that she was in the kitchen and seemed to be cooking most of the food.
Overall I think it is a nice addition to the local scene. No reservations for this small place though so be prepared for a short wait on weekends. I will wait for a return trip to place it in comparison to Avanti/Sestri which is where I tend to get Italian and Italian inspired foods these days.
503 Water St.
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