After reading the many references to Trattoria Marcella, I found myself looking for a Friday night spot to take the missus for V-Day dinner. TM was selected and all I can say is WOW. We had reservations which I would say is a must after observing the crowd. It appears that they make them on approximately 2.5 to 3 hour timetables in order for you to truly enjoy the event. We started with appetizers to include the free ciabatta and hummus. It was a mild yet savory dip and the first round of bread went quickly, partially to abosrb the specialty martinis being offered. Flash fried spinach with calamari & lemon followed. Great texture for both and the rings were quite tender. Our new found favorite was the polenta fries in a wild mushroom gorgonzola cream sauce...nice crispy fries with a sweet soft interior and we couldn't get enough of the cream sauce. Portions were quite appropriate for four people. We had a difficult time choosing entree items off the menu because everything sounded great. We ended up ordering doubles of one item off the menu and one special of the day. Sorry we weren't more adventuresome but they sounded so darn good. The ladies started with a field greens salad w/ dried cherries and toasted pine nuts. It was well presented and the house dressing brought raves from both of them. The lobster risotto was light and creamy with a touch of tomato base. We did find that a few pieces of the lobster were a touch fishy tasting although there were plenty of pieces throughout that were not. The special 10 oz veal chop was done perfectly with a warm rare interior and was extremely tender and full flavored. It was nestled over smashed potatoes with a port wine reduction gravy that was adequate in quantity and excellent in flavor. It was a great complement to the chop. The entrees were followed up with some excellent coffee and then decisons had to be made regarding our desert choices. This time we did better about sampling. I had a chocolate creme brulee that nearly put me into a chocolate cardiac arrest. It had a great crackly chocolate sugar topping and velvety smooth and sweet chocolate interior. I heard equally enthusiastic murmurings over the tiramisu which I sampled and pronounced the best I ever had. The pecan cheesecake was a hit and a chocolate bombe had a nice thick chocolate shell and creamy smoooth mousse inside. The dessert really brought things together nicely. Our waiter Joe was most competent and attentive as were the support staff. I don't ever recall seeing so many support staff in a restauarant. All were very deferential when encountering us passing in the hallway. I certainly give them high marks for service. Our tab for four ran about $230 and I felt it was money well spent. I can see how Trattoria Marcella is considered the Tony's #2 of St. Louis. I can't wait for the return trip.