Leoci's Trattoria

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Leoci's Trattoria
By Cima Star








While we waited for Leoci’s Trattoria to open (and wait we did, for days, then weeks, then months!), we watched. We watched as the new, straight-from-Firenze, wood-burning fireplace went in. Then we watched as the lovely, large and spacious outdoor deck came gradually to life. The result is a lovely trattoria that looks much like a trattoria in Italy, with black and white tables and hand made brocade banquettes. A place over which any Italian nonna would be proud to preside.

Finally, in mid-December, 2009, we had our first meal at Leoci’s. We haven’t stopped eating Chef Roberto’s authentic Italian dishes since.

Most of the time, when I look at the menu I cannot pass up the Antipasto Leoci’s. On the menu, it’s described as assorted Italian cold cuts and cheeses, grilled vegetables and oven-roasted olives. That only hints at the reality. The prosciutto di parma, mortadella, carpaccio, salami, all Italian, are served warmed, deepening both flavor and aroma. All are authentic, too. And the cheese! There were three varieties that first night, all good. But the hands down winner was the mozzarella, made in-house and absolutely sensational. This mozzarella is the closest thing I’ve ever tasted to the real mozzarella de buffalo that you get only in the Napoli area of Italy. Rich and densely flavored, softly moist, this is fit for Edesia, Roman goddess of fine food.

The salads are garden fresh, and usually available in half as well as full portions. My favorite is the Insalata di Rucola, composed of arugula, fennel, cherry tomatoes, crisp house croutons and lemon vinaigrette.

Pastas are voluptuous. Made with fresh, hand made pasta, totally unlike the dried pasta so prevalent in America, the texture is like satin covering al dente pasta. The smokiness of the pancetta blends beautifully with the bite of the pecorino cheese, and a poached egg atop brings a novel and delicious note to traditional Carbonara. The first time I ate at Leoci’s, the portions, especially of the pasta dishes, were enormous, not just generous, but huge. Since, they’ve shrunk a bit…. But they are still nice, reasonable portions. I guess Chef Roberto doesn’t want to work for love alone!

Capellini with aglio and olio is not on the menu, which has its capellini with tomatoes and basil, but when I asked for it, Chef Roberto was happy to indulge my passion. More perfect, satiny pasta!

Leoci’s pizza, the dough homemade and rolled thin, is my idea of perfect pizza. Baked in that marvelous wood-burning oven, even those who prefer their pizzas with thicker crusts, admit that the ingredients here—fresh and mostly either local or imported from Italy—cannot be surpassed. My own favorite, Pizza Margherita, is adorned with the freshest, sweetest plumb tomatoes possible, fresh basil, and of course, that wondrous mozzarella.

Among the world’s top gustatory pleasures has to be saffron risotto. Here, it is offered on the menu topped with brick-oven shrimp, and it is creamy and dreamily lovely. A friend tells me that you can generally get it topped with anything you’d like, including lamb.

Leoci’s Trattoria
606 Abercorn St.
Tel: 335-7027
Hours: weekdays from 11am – until, open at noon on the weekends
Entrees: $8 to $22
Wine & Beer

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