Sunday, October 14, 2012

Arpino Trattoria

I have had several doctor appointments lately, which means early mornings for us. I try to make the appointments so that SP can take me, get me home, and then get to work at a not much later than usual time. But one day, after enduring much poking and prodding and ultrasounds and a couple of puncture wounds/bruises because no one can ever find my veins when they try to draw blood and when they do manage to stick my tiny, skinny, buried veins, the stupid vein usually collapses, necessitating additional poking, well, he just wasn't going to get back into town for work at a reasonable time.

So SP made the decision to work from home for the rest of the day but first, we would go out to lunch because he was hungry and because I was a little crabby. I'm always a little crabby after doctor visits and usually he makes me happy afterwards by buying me donuts, but this time all the good donuts would be gone because it was nearly noon, so I got to go out for lunch! Somewhere new! We decided to try Arpino Trattoria.

It's in the same shopping area as my childhood pediatrician's office, in fact, it may have been my pediatrician's office before he retired! It's in Manor Oak Village which is either in Green Tree or Mt. Lebanon, or Scott, take your pick, I've seen all three listed for that location. It's in the same area as Max & Erma's and Duke's Station.
We were warmly greeted, seated right away, given our choice of seats, and happily discovered that they do in fact offer freshly brewed iced tea. I couldn't decide what I wanted to eat, so I spent some time looking around. It's pretty minimal inside. Mustard colored walls. Some framed photos of, presumably, Italy. Dark colored tables and chairs. Small and minimal yet cozy and inviting.

As soon as our server said the soup of the day was Manhattan Clam Chowder, I knew SP would be ordering it. He thought it was really good, lots of chopped clams, lots of clam flavor, and lots of little pieces of potatoes and veggies, not huge hunks, a light fish & tomato broth, no cream in sight.
While SP enjoyed his soup, I enjoyed a side salad. Crisp mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, a cucumber slice, a couple of croutons, and a tasty light vinaigrette. I was happy that there were not any onions on the salad.
 We received bread wrapped in waxed paper. I think the menu said the bread is from Mediterra. It was delicious. SP dipped some in his broth, I mopped up my dressing with bread.
SP chose a sandwich, which kind of surprised me. The Prosciutto, with provolone (or fresh mozzarella, your choice), marinated tomatoes, arugula, balsamic, and olive oil. It was huge! He brought about one fourth of it home. There was a very nice portion of prosciutto on the sandwich. Tasty, chewy bread. Nice light balsamic drizzle. Fresh, crisp veggies. The side salad orzo with olives and broccoli bits was lightly dressed.
I ordered Penne Vodka - penne tossed in vodka cream sauce with pecorino romano. I added a meatball, which came on the side in marinara. The meatball was moist, flavorful, easy to cut with my fork. The penne was triangular shaped. It seemed thicker than the usual penne. Very substantial penne, which is a good thing. Cooked to al dente. The sauce was amazing. This might be the best tomato-vodka-cream sauce I've ever had. It was thick, not thin and runny, it clung to the pasta. It was just so delicious. The kind of sauce that you mop up every last bit with bread and if you don't have bread, well, you discreetly lick your plate. Which I didn't do since I brought half home. I did scrape as much of the sauce as possible into the take home container, possibly bordering on improper scraping of a plate in a restaurant. I tried to be quiet but thorough!
I deliberately saved just enough room to share the cannoli dessert with SP. It's actually two pizzelles with cannoli filling and chocolate drizzle.
The pizzelles were soft, but not too soft, and full of anise flavor. Much prettier than my pizzelles, which come out with ragged edges and darker/lighter splotches. The cannoli filling was creamy but not too rich.
I liked the chocolate drizzle, but this would have been fine without it, and I wouldn't have gotten chocolate drizzle on my fingers!

We had a very tasty lunch. It can get a little loud inside, and the interior is pretty sparse, but it's cozy and the employees are very welcoming. Definitely a place we'd like to dine at again, definitely a place we might take my parents when they are in town. Arpino Trattoria (Manor Oak Village) on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I've eaten at Arpino's several times with my daughter and never had a bad meal. I'm fairly sure that it is located on the former site of the pediatricians, Steinman, Safier, and Giga, who took care of my children when they were young. The office moved to Rte 50 at least 8 years ago.

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