I had been unhappy with my last two experiences at I Trulli - mostly regarding the flight of wines I had at the enoteca one night. The smug and generally unpleasant bartender served one awful wine after the next (and in one unbelievable escapade...tried pouring me the same wine I had turned down).
But Danna and I wanted to go out...Italian sounded good...and local sounded better. Even though Aleo and Trio are relatively close, the sheer convenience of having I Trulli a sand wedge from my front stoop was the deciding factor.
Thankfully we went here as the food was quite good tonight and the wine, mercifully, was on point as well.
I ordered a 2002 Rosso di Montifalco ($9.50) which had plenty of fruit, easy on tannin and generally drinkable with or without food.
Here's what we had:
Panzerotti ($10) - small apulian calzones filled with mozzarella and tomato. This was just fine - a simple but pleasant way to start the meal. Just salty enough to bring out the flavor of the tomato and mozz.
Bucatini alla Guanciale ($19) (Special)
Danna has a reaction to red chili flakes. She asked to have it without...I had my appetizer of this with it and the difference was dramatic. It really needs the chili flake. But the pasta was delicious and perfectly cooked. Also, just enough parmagiano.
The bucatini dish ($12) mentioned above. One other thing...the appetizer wasn't much smaller in portion size to the entree. Hmmm.
Coniglio ($28) - Rabbit roasted in a clay pot with black chickpeas and rosemary.
I tried this dish for an elementary reason...I wanted to taste how the Italians might prepare this. During the last 8 months or so I've had a french preparation (French Bistro), an Austrian version (Wallse) and an American version (Red Cat) and must say that although this was a good dish...it wasn't great. The essence of rabbit simply wasn't there (perhaps a little too much so at French Bistro and just the right amount at the other two). The pancetta that wrapped the loin was too rubbery and added little to no flavor. The chickpeas added a nice texture...though the rabbit loin wasn't tender enough to enjoy the balance of the two ingrediants. One last complaint was that the rosemary - a pathetic little spritz - added nothing to the dish whatsoever. The mashed potatoes it was served on were fine and added that other texture that helped bring the dish together. This could have been an excellent dish. Instead it was just good.
The desserts made everything just right for both of us.
We shared the Crespelle ($10) - a beautifully presented dish of paper-thin apple pancake with spiced semolina crumb and cinnamon gelato. Delicious. The spiced semolina crumb boosted this dish to great heights. The dish also had a very sweet, crispy and impossibly thin slice of green apple sticking into the gelato and a thin stretch of caramel.
We also shared another Panzerotti ($10), this one a touch smaller in size (4 total as well) and filled with nutella. As good as you might expect. More sugar in place of that salt from the appetizer.
Overall it was a good dinner. But a bit expensive for what we got. $107.50 before tip, which, while not outrageous in the least, could have been toned down...especially for the rabbit dish. It was at least $6 or $7 overpriced. Other entrees on the menu and their prices seemed a bit excessive as well.
One thing to note, walking from Lexington we detected a foul fishy odor coming from the direction of the restaurant. We chose, on purpose not to eat fish this evening because of this. During our dessert, we noticed someone had ordered the fish and it too had a significant odor to it. A little off-putting to say the least.
Anyhow, a decent meal and it's been put back in my roster.