REGIONAL ITALIAN CUISINE AT THE HEART OF WESTPORT,CT
|HOME MENUS REVIEWS PRIVATE PARTIES CONTACT US|
Dining | Westport
Italy Wide and Varied, Warm and Intimate
By PATRICIA BROOKS
Published: February 24, 2008 - NY TIMES
THE subtitle at Finalmente Trattoria, one of Westport's newer restaurants, is "regional Italian cuisine." This proves apt, for the menu has dishes that range all over the map of Italy, including a wild king salmon entree from Elba of all places.
There is no shortage of Italian restaurants in Connecticut, but this tiny trattoria has a warmth and intimacy that makes it a natural for dinner à deux or marking a special occasion. Almost always a good sign, the crusty bread, herb-brushed focaccia, pungent olive oil and black olive tapenade start off each meal with a flourish. There are a number of worthy entrees, like a well-braised, fork-tender osso buco alla Milanese (veal shanks with carrots, onions, celery and herbs in a succulent Barolo wine sauce) served with saffron risotto. That wild king salmon was a tasty pan-seared filet sautéed with scallops, shallots and basil in a gin-fish broth. I also enjoyed one night's special of grilled sushi-rare tuna teased by capers, lemon and a mâche in a tangy lemony vinaigrette. But the pasta dishes at Finalmente (which means "finally, at last") are so nicely varied and well prepared they beckon me on almost every visit.
All four of us at one dinner agreed that orecchiette juventine was the dish of the night. The pasta "ears" were sautéed with a mix of artichoke hearts, fresh plum tomatoes, wild mushrooms, prosciutto, black truffle paste, garlic and extra virgin olive oil, then topped with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Runner-up that evening was crespelle della nonna. Crisp-edged crepes stuffed with fresh ricotta and spinach were blanketed by a fresh-tasting tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Also appealing was the bavette alle vongole — tender-to-the-tongue New Zealand cockles in their shells over linguine ribbons, in a garlic, parsley and white wine sauce. Stay with the pastas. Other fine choices were ravioli di peperone (pockets stuffed with sweet peppers and smoked mozzarella, sautéed in butter, sage and black truffle paste) and pappardelle al sugo di cinghiale (wide noodles sautéed in a wild boar sauce, finished with dry ricotta salata).
There are several commendable appetizers as well, like the special of crab cakes on a sea of well-dressed mâche greens; the vongole al vino bianco (steamed cockles in a pungent garlic, parsley, extra virgin olive oil-white wine broth); and the cozze al brodetto (mussels sautéed with cannellini beans, garlic and parsley in an olive oil-chardonnay sauce).
165 Post Road East
THE SPACE Cozy, softly lighted L-shaped room in shades of beige, with tile floor, service bar and open kitchen. Street level with wheelchair access.
THE CROWD Couples and foursomes of varying ages, nicely but casually dressed. The staff is experienced, accommodating and cordial.
THE BAR Service bar; wines, mostly American and Italian, begin at $24 per bottle.
THE BILL Lunch: $14 to $21. Dinner: appetizers, $7 to $16 (for antipasto for two); entrees, $15 to $29; desserts, $7 to $9. All credit cards accepted.
WHAT WE LIKE Carpaccio di tonno, cozze al brodetto, vongole al vino bianco, grilled shrimp and calamari, insalata alle more, trecolori tradizionale; crespelle della nonna, orecchiette juventine, bavette alle vongole, ravioli di Peperone, pappardelle al sugo di cinghiale, pan-seared filet of wild king salmon, osso buco alla Milanese.
IF YOU GO Lunch: noon to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Dinner: 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations accepted. Free parking area in front of restaurant .
Reviewed Feb. 24, 2008
Located at 165 Post Road East (US 1) Downtown Westport
1 Block Away from Main Street & Close to the Westport Playhouse - Parking at Sconset Square
Finalmente Trattoria, 165 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880 203-226-8500