Last week I had the opportunity to be in Torrington for a family function. Having grown up in Torrington the Venetian on East Main St had always been a favorite of mine so I was looking forward to having lunch there during this visit.
In a word, it was excellent. There were two of us and when we arrived at the restaurant at around 12:30 there were about five other tables occupied. I have always felt that the dining room is a real gem and it hasn't changed much over the almost 60 years they have been in business. The booths are large and comfortably seat four people. The Italian murals of Venice are a bit kitschy but I think they add a lot to atmosphere and give the room a real old style Italian feel.
We started with a couple of glasses of wine and then decided to split an order of the Roasted Peppers with Mozzarella. They served an assortment of nicely roasted red, yellow and green peppers with very fresh slices of Mozzarella. The dish had been drizzled with a fruity EVOO and shreds of fresh bail. It was simple but because of the quality of each ingredient it was an excellent way to start. We also enjoyed the Italian style bread that was served along side.
For our main courses we each ordered what, in my opinion, is one of the Venetian's signature dishes, the Cheese Manicotti with the Filleto di Pomodoro sauce. These were two Manicotti with freshly made sheets of pasta enclosing a simple filling of Ricotta and Parmesan cheese. The Filetto di Pomodoro was the perfect sauce for the dish. It was a very light and fresh tasting sauce that complimented the Manicotti perfectly. A sprinkling of grated Parmesan added the perfect touch. We enjoyed the fact that the dish had not been baked and covered with a thick layer of Mozzarella as so many other restaurants do. It seemed like the Manicotti had just been sauteed in the Filetto di Pomodoro before being plated and served.
We topped off our lunch with an espresso and a cappuccino which was the perfect ending to a perfect meal. The service was friendly and professional and the owner even stopped by to chat and ask if everything was okay.
Living in Boston we have access to literally hundreds of Italian restaurants, many of which are very, very good, but I would rate the Venetian in Torrington with any of the best of them Torrington is fortunate to have a place like the Venetian and I can only hope it stays for at least another 60 years. I also wish I lived closer too