For the first course, R ordered the baked mozzarella. It was essentially a ball of mozzarella that was lightly breaded and baked. Almost like a grilled cheese without the heavy bread and grease. It was served with marinara. There was definitely more cheese than breading, and it was delicious. Not a bad way to start a meal.
|See all the cheese oozing out of the breading?|
I decided to start with the fresh mushroom caps. Please note that these were neither stuffed mushroom caps nor fried mushroom caps. This dish was actually a big bowl of mushrooms, sauteed in garlic, white wine, and olive oil. This might seem a bit odd to you, but not at all to me. I adore mushrooms. They are one of my favorite foods. They're always the first thing I go to on a veggie tray, and also one of the only foods that I always have in my house. Clearly this was the perfect appetizer for me. The only drawback? There were too many mushrooms, and I couldn't finish them all!
|So simple and so yummy.|
The second course was a choice of soup or salad. R decided on the soup, which I believe was chicken noodle. He said it was great. I didn't try any, so we'll just have to take his word for it. I decided to have the salad. I'm a big salad eater to begin with, so naturally, this is what I was going to get. It was just a basic Italian salad - a mix of lettuces, some tomatoes, provolone, and a vinaigrette. Simple, refreshing, and a nice palate cleanser before our entrees arrived.
|Check out the color on those tomatoes.|
On to our entrees! R decided to have the veal piccata. Sometimes I think he orders things that he knows I won't eat just so he doesn't have to share. The veal was cooked in a sauce of lemon, capers, and white wine, and served over linguine. Perfectly cooked linguine, I might add. The sauce was divine. It was light and it was airy, and it didn't really overpower the veal (unfortunately for me). I'm not a fan of veal. I'm not quite sure why, but it just doesn't do it for me. I did try it, but it wasn't for me. R, on the other hand, was a fan. He loved the way it was prepared, and thought the whole dish just worked really well together.
|Lots of capers. Great way to catch that lemony flavor.|
On the recommendation of some friends, I had the crab cake with linguine. I'm exceptionally picky about my crab cakes, especially when they are billed as Maryland crab cakes. I've had crab cakes in Maryland. They're kind of hard to top. Most places, when trying to recreate them, use entirely too much breading and filler and not enough crab. Not Villa Tronco. These were quite honestly some of the best crab cakes I've ever had. Not only was it more crab than anything else, it was topped with a red pepper sauce that added just the perfect amount of heat. It was tender and flaky and perfect. It was paired with a basic linguine with marinara. Everything just worked so well together. This would be my recommendation for anyone going to Villa Tronco for the first time. Just utterly perfect.
|I really loved the portion sizes here.|
Finally, we had dessert. R went with the tiramisu. I'm not a huge fan of tiramisu (plus I was really excited about my own dessert), so I only had a bite. It was fine. R really liked it. Not being a big fan in general, coupled with having had the greatest tiramisu ever at Rosso the week before, I just wasn't feeling this one. It wasn't bad, just not for me.
|Certainly not a bad way to finish the evening.|
On to my dessert: Cannoli. Cannoli are, hands down, my favorite dessert in the world. And please don't operate under the notion that all cannoli are created equal. They aren't. These were right up there with the best I've ever had. The shell was crunchy, the filling was sweet, but not overly so, and the powdered sugar was a nice touch on top. So so so good.
I walked into Villa Tronco sure that I was going to have a nice meal. I walked out totally and completely satisfied. The restaurant has a pretty cool history too - you can read all about it on their website. The food is authentic Italian, probably due to the South Philadelphia Italian heritage. The restaurant is warm and inviting, and homey without being hokey. Our service was exceptional, and our food was outstanding. If Columbia didn't have so many other fabulous restaurants, I might be tempted to go to Villa Tronco for every special occasion I have from now until the end of time.
|I couldn't have asked for a better end to the evening.|