Trattoria L'incontro…A Singular Experience
"Chi mangia bene, vive bene," is Rocco Sacramone's mantra. Owner and Executive Chef of Trattoria L'incontro, Rocco believes that, "He who eats well, lives well." He has spent the last nine years of his life seeing to it that all the patrons of his premier Italian restaurant eat well and live well while they're under his roof. From the lovely Italianate décor to the expert staff, led by manager and maitre d' Vincent Vizati, to the gastronomical wonders served, a meal at Trattoria L'incontro is a singular dining experience.
It all begins with the freshest ingredients available at market each and every day. From there, Rocco works his culinary magic combining textures, flavors and colors to create unique Italian and continental dishes. Relax while your waiter uncorks a bottle of wine from their extensive cellar. Bottles start at just $20 and come from all over the world and a special vintage is featured every night. The extensive menu covers dozens of options in appetizers, pasta, meat and fish entrées. Simply the best, crispiest pizza comes out of the wood-burning stone oven, such as the "caprino" with prosciutto, goat cheese and fresh mozzarella.
Appetizers run from $8.95 to $12.95 and include vongole a modo nostro, their famous baked clams and dried sausage slices with roasted peppers and a drizzle of olive oil. Burrata, a handmade, buttery cheese, sits atop paper-thin slices of prosciutto for a little taste of heaven. A house favorite is the grilled escarole with tender white beans, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and fresh rosemary. Fresh mussels are prepared with either tomato or white wine with plenty to share. Pulpo alla brace is simply grilled, marinated octopus that is impossibly tender. Cool down with a crunchy classic Caesar salad or a caprese with buffalo mozzarella and sliced tomatoes and basil.
Our expert waiter, Ariane, recited a long list of tempting specials of the evening, created from the freshest ingredients available that day. Fresh from the sea are soft shell crabs and you should run, not walk, to have some here while they're in season. Lightly battered and fried, these soft shell crabs just melted in my mouth and sat atop a mound of chopped salad. Always eager to surprise your palate, Rocco prepares sushi-style ocean fresh blue marlin with pomegranate, pine nuts and tops it with delicate micro greens.
Only fresh pasta is served at Trattoria L'incontro, with kudos to the spaghetti carbonara with a light touch of cream, lemon zest, pancetta and asparagus. Garganelli are topped with the simplest tomato, basil and garlic and the ravioli of the day was filled with porcini mushrooms and sausage. Ravioli filled with four savory cheeses is always on the menu, drizzled with herb butter sauce. Next time, I'll try the risotto with pears and gorgonzola.
Black sea bass, the featured fish, was gently pan seared and topped with chopped tomato sauce, flanked with mussels and clams. Flaky fillet of branzino is brightened with orange, ginger and Grand Marnier. Tender pollo alla Quattro funghi sautes tender chicken breast with porcini, oyster, Portobello and button mushrooms for a rich, woodsy flavor. Rack of lamb is a feast for the eyes and the palate, cooked to order with a crust of herbs and spices to bring out the wonderful flavor of the tender spring lamb. A hefty grilled veal chop will satisfy even the biggest appetite, while veal a limone is a sliver of heaven.
Throughout your meal, the well-trained staff will pour your wine, clear your dishes and fold your napkins without your noticing them…the sign of truly expert service. Desserts floated to the table on gossamer wings and my dining companion and I fought over spoonfuls of semifreddo with zabaglione sauce and a pear and chocolate tart with ricotta. House made tiramisu and virtually any other dessert that comes from this kitchen will remain in your gustatory memory for days. A glass of chilled moscato and an espresso put the final touches on this fine meal.
Trattoria L'incontro is open for lunch and dinner six days a week until 10pm weeknights and 11pm weekends, when reservations are advisable (closed Monday). A private party room is also available and holds 35 people, making it ideal for showers, birthdays and business events. The adjoining Wine Bar, called "Divino" is a great place to visit before or after dinner, or anytime you want to enjoy fine wine and light fare.
A meal at Trattoria L'incontro is a singular and memorable experience. Besides the delicious and inventive food, you won't get better service than this and live background music plays nightly. A gift card is a great way to say Happy Anniversary or to congratulate someone on a special occasion. Eat well and live well at Trattoria L'incontro. Buon Appetito!