We booked a last-minute Winterlicious dinner at Tutti Matti (on a Wednesday night). I’ve been to TM before, and I do think that this is one of the best dining secrets in the Entertainment District. The resto is a pretty bistro space with good-for-dates lighting and an attractive open kitchen (good for spying on food options before ordering). Food is authentic Tuscan… and the Winterlicious offerings are quite respectable.
Starters were very strong — the wild mushroom soup was wonderfully flavourful, thick and hearty, with really rustic appeal (this is no simpery cream of mushroom zuppa!). We also tried the beef carpaccio, plated with arugula and large shard of parmigiano, dressed with oil and lemon. Both of these servings were very generous. And everything was going down quite nicely with some by-the-glass Umbrian red.
Second, we opted for the suckling pig with apricots and chestnuts. The meat was very tender and some roasted potatoes were a nice accompaniment. The tuna alla puttanesca was a disappoint — a little too thin, a little too gray and a little too oily (overdressed). But I liked the imaginative sides (barley and some fennel). We wished that we’d opted instead for one of the pastas —the fettucine with mushrooms looked particularly good. The mains were small, and I could see a big eater being dissatisfied, but mains at Tutti Matti have been on the smallish side, in my experience, and I actually prefer this to being overloaded with food (as long as small doesn’t verge on insulting or ridiculous, which this didn’t).
Dessert was a chocolate cake, rich and dark, although without much of the promised caramelized banana (they were in there, just not-much) — Mr. Rabbit wasn’t even aware there was banana in the cake until I alerted him to a bit of evidence. The fruit cobbler was apple, with nicely spiced fruit and a pleasant oat-y crust. Both of these desserts were Winterlicious sized (read: small) but they were flavourful, nice foils to one another, and attractively plated. Also, they weren’t ice cream or sorbet, which many Winterlicious restaurants are rather unimaginatively resorting to as dessert options.
The restaurant was not entirely full, but it was busy. Service was sometimes slow, and by times seemed a little tense, but everything remained quite ostensibly friendly and we did not feel at all rushed.
We started with some very average baguette, each had two glasses of wine, and Mr. Rabbit had a coffee avec dessert (which he said was good, and he’s a coffee geek). The cheque came in at $112 (Winterlicious dinner is $25 at TM).
* One footnote — TM has added the gratuity to the cheque for winterlicious, which I think is a little underhanded, especially since nobody actually mentioned it. Had it been me (because I’m not a careful accountant and it was getting late-ish), I would probably have tipped (again) on top of the bill. Good thing Mr.Rab was paying last night (he’s a cheque checker).
All in all — a very reasonable performance. Would feel OK recommending.
(pictures to follow at www.rabbitreporting.com)