Excerpt from “A Review of Sostanza Trattoria”

October 13, 2010 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Festive and glowing, Sostanza Trattoria calls to me like a beacon on a crisp November evening.  Stepping into the dining room conjures memories of my grandmother’s cozy kitchen – with speckled, cream-colored plaster walls and burnt red tile, this is what a dining room looked like in the Old Country.  It’s warm and inviting, and the unmistakable aroma of sautéing garlic and tomato compels me to my seat. 

Our table is adjacent to the rustic stone fireplace and I can feel myself melting into it as the hostess presents my menu.  The antipasto section is filled with simple classics – zuppa Toscana, mozzarella caprese, prosciutto and melon.  Pasta dishes predominate the menu and it’s clear from the unembellished preparation that the focus here is on the ingredients.  Rigatoni with sausage, peppers, and ricotta, creamy fettuccine with peas and ham, even an unassuming linguine with olive oil and red pepper flakes.  These are the authentic Italian dishes that people fly across oceans to eat, and indeed, the further I read the more I feel I’m tucked away in the hills of Tuscany instead of just a few minutes from home in Seattle.  Rounding out the menu are a handful of meat-centered plates, including veal, steak, and pork loin. 

I decide on the Spaghetti Monterosso, a medley of Dungeness crab, prawns, diced fresh tomato, garlic and the ever-present extra virgin olive oil.  At $22, this is actually one of the more expensive dishes on the menu, which I’m pleasantly surprised to find is filled with entrees for under $20.  As the chef prepares my pasta, the waitress drops off a basket of warm bread.  The scent washes me in a wave of nostalgia – it smells like the homemade bread my great-grandmother used to make.  It’s crusty and light, with a fluffy inner texture, but I’m wary of putting it in my mouth for fear of ruining the moment – since I moved to Seattle two years ago from the East Coast, I’ve been disappointed by every piece of Italian bread I’ve tried.  The smell overpowers me, and I’m glad it does.  This is by far the best bread I’ve had outside of the New York metro area.  Our party of four downs a few baskets in reverence.

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