Sunday, June 14, 2015

Nabruzzi Trattoria, Tampa, FL

While I'll be the first to admit that Italian cuisine is not my favorite (mostly because I often feel that it's not that "special" unless I'm actually eating it in Italy), I am thrilled to report that the delectable delights at Lutz's Nabruzzi Trattoria set my heart to racing. Despite its strip mall location, the restaurant boasts a warm, higher-end interior and we enjoyed attentive, pleasingly low-key and highly knowledgeable service from Eric over the course of our meal.

We received a complimentary basket of warm, crusty Italian bread with an exceptional red pepper tapenade and herb-infused olive oil for smearing/dipping right off the bat.  My starter of Fiocchi Di Enzo (four cheese and pear stuffed al dente pasta purses drizzled with an EVOO, basilico, and rosemary herb sauce may leave my eyes stuck in a rolled position of ecstasy for days. Strewn with toothsome prosciutto morsels and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano, it was an addictive study in sweet-meets-salty that paired amazingly with our extremely reasonably priced $24 bottle of Avissi Prosecco.  

Underdog's ruby-red, velvety carpaccio was so tender it practically dissolved on the tongue. 

Entrees at Nabruzzi are served with a choice of soup or house salad in addition to the aforementioned bread service. The hub-unit opted for the earthy and robust-flavored lentil, bean and mushroom soup of the day while I paid a $2 upcharge for a house Caesar - both outstanding. 

While I generally don't think of vegan soups (or vegan ANYTHING, for that matter) as being terribly exciting, I have to admit that this one had a hearty rusticness that we both enjoyed.

Nabruzzi's Caesar Italiano is a refreshing, lemony riff on the classic. Cool and crisp, the dressing was lighter and less garlicky than that of the standard and anchovies were offered on the side (not pour moi, but it's nice for those who enjoy them to have the option).  

My Vitello Nabruzzi was comprised of a veal scallopini sauteed with garlic, mushrooms and sherry wine cream sauce...then topped with eggplant, ricotta and mozzarella and served atop a bed of house made pasta. While it was fork-tender, flavor-riche and otherwise fab in every way...

...hubster's stunningly plated U-10 New Bedford Seared Scallops (all seafood offered here is flown in fresh each day, we were assured) served atop creamy mounds of crab and lobster risotto still managed to steal the show.  While you will probably want to leap in your car and drive Lutz as fast as it will take you upon viewing the pulchritudinous splendor of this dish...I must warn you that it was a special of the evening. And no one at Nabruzzi was taking the word "special" lightly in this instance.

To wrap things up, a dreamy citrus-riche Limoncello Cake and Coppa Catalana with berries provided our sweet ending.  While the Coppa Catalana was lovely, that Limoncello cake (moist to point of almost being gooey and showered with white chocolate shavings) set the bar so high that we were eyeing the custard like it was a red-headed stepchild by the time everything was said and done (and eaten).  

At the end of the day, all of this, plus the bottle of Prosecco, set us back a whopping $110 before tax and gratuity...making Nabruzzi an elegant and affordable date-night delight.

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My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't had veal in so long. I have to check this place out.