I love Italian food and Italian wine; and was thrilled to be invited to try the new menu items from the Poor Italian Trattoria Ristorante on 3296 E 1st Ave Vancouver. In case you didn’t know, this restaurant is owned by Tony Parsons, the TV news announcer that has been gracing the Vancouver airwaves for many years. The restaurant has a very cosy feeling with landscape paintings hanging on the walls, Italian pottery scattered throughout the restaurant, and rustic terracotta coloured walls.
Arriving there, I was offered a nice light, dry sparkling Italian Prosecco while the appetizer-sized plates of the new courses were brought in for us to try. The dishes we tried were:
- Roasted butternut squash soup with acacia honey, Dungeness crab and grape seed oil.
- 3 types of Bruschetta. House made crostini with i) traditional fresh tomato, basis and olive oil, ii) chopped mushroom medley with porcini and truffle, and iii) tuna with olive oil marinated artichoke hearts.
- Beef Carpaccio made with AAA Alberta beef , finely sliced and served with truffle aioli and Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Crab Cake with Scallop. A giant diver-harvested Atlantic scallop balanced over a fresh Dungeness crab cake, served with a spicy pomodoro sauce and micro greens.
- Ricotta and spinach filled ravioli in a tomato sauce.
- Paccheri pasta and spicy Italian fennel sausage, with caramelized onion and San Marzano pomodoro sauce.
- Braised boneless beef short ribs with roasted garlic and cherry tomatoes, fresh arugula and gorgonzola risotto
- Deep fried cannoli tubes topped with marscapone cheese and chocolate
- Lemon ice cream in a miniature ice cream cone
All the food we were served was delicious. The first 4 items fall into the appetizer category. The butternut squash soup was very creamy and went very nicely with the pieces of Dungeness crab. If you would like an appetizer, the trio of Bruschetta are all tasty. The traditional tomato one and the mushroom medley both had a good amount of garlic, while the tuna one was light and citrusy flavoured. If you are on the more daring side, you may want to try the beef carpaccio. This is thin raw slices of beef, topped with the garlicky truffle aioli and sharp Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. If you are a seafood lover, then try the crab cake with scallop. The scallop slice was expertly grilled so it was still soft and juicy, and placed on a skewer atop the crab cake. The fresh hand-made crab cake was also cooked so it had a nice amount of crunchy texture, and tender inside.
The main courses covered 2 types of pasta and one risotto. The ricotta and spinach filled ravioli in a tomato sauce could have been my overall favourite dish. It was also the most simple. The ravioli pasta was cooked perfectly al dente (as was the other pasta). Inside was a mixture of ricotta cheese and spinach. A simple tomato sauce was a nice complement to the richness of the ricotta and spinach filling. The Paccheri pasta and spicy Italian fennel sausage were very nice. I had not seen or heard of Paccheri pasta before. It looks like a very wide flat noodle that is rolled. On top of this was the Italian fennel sausage and the spicy tomato sauce. The pasta held the sauce nicely even though it was smooth. I think the amount of surface area covered by the pasta, allowed the sauce to adhere to the pasta. Lastly the braised boneless beef short ribs was very rich and flavourful with a gravy/reduction made with roasted garlic and cherry tomatoes. To this was a creamy, rich gorgonzola risotto. The gorgonzola was not overpowering so do not worry if you are not a blue cheese fan.
The two desserts were both delightful. The first was a deconstructed dessert cannoli. The cannoli tube was sliced into triangular pieces then deep fried, and topped with marscapone cheese and chocolate. Nice texture between the crunchiness of the cannoli and the creaminess of the cheese. The lemon ice cream in a miniature ice cream cone was a simple dessert, but very refreshing with the citrus flavour cleansing your palate after trying the other dishes.
If you are wondering about their wine list, they have a wide selection of wines by the glass, which is important I think to keep you safe when you drive after your meal.
- Pergola Prosecco Brut DOC (Italy)
- Mionetto Prosecco Brut DOC (Italy)
- Sumac Ridge Stellars Jay Brut 2006 (BC)
- Valle d’Oro Trebbiano d’Abruzzo DOC 2009 (Italy)
- See Ya Later Ranch Gcwurztraminer (BC)
- Anil Macabeo 2009 (Spam)
- Mt. Fishtail Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2009 (New Zealand)
- Pentage Pinot Gris VQA (BC)
- Dr. Loosen Riesling (Germany)
- Tommasi Le Rosse Pinot Grigio DOC 2009 (Italy)
- Bourgogne Montvallon Chardonnay 2009 (France)
- Di Lenardo Pinot Grigio IGT (Italy)
- Argiolas Costamolino Vermentino DOC 2009 (Italy)
- Cecchi Chianti DOC 2009 (Italy)
- Valle d’Oro Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC 2009 (Italy)
- Cal y Canto (Tempranillo – Syrah – Merlot) (Spain)
- Rosso Bello R0ss0 Piceno DOC (Italy)
- Di Majo Norante Sangiovese IGT (Italy)
- J. Lohr Cypress Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (California)
- Lucky Country Shiraz 2008 (Australia)
- Kettle Valley Merlot 2007 (BC)
- Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008 (California)
- Mt. Boucherie Pinot Noir 2008 (BC)
- Tommasi Poggio al Tufo Super-Tuscan IGT 2008 (Italy)
- Tedeschi San Rocco Valpolicella Ripasso DOC 2008 (Italy)
- Cantine di San Silvestro Barolo DOCG 2006 (Italy)
I would recommend going to the Poor Italian. As I mentioned, I really liked their pasta. They have a wide range of appetizers to start off a nice lunch or dinner with friends or family. Enjoy!