So when Rick's Dad suggested that we go, (he read about Chef Carla Pellegrino and her two restaurants in an in-flight magazine on the way over) we were ecstatic at the opportunity to try out a new restaurant with him (he's offered great food criticism on our past sojourns)....
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What's so interesting about this building that I think attributes to the restaurant's success (or demise), is due to the direct sunlight, the windows have opaque screens block the rays, making it very hard to see inside from the streets. You never can tell whether there's people inside, or even open for that matter.
Bratalian seems to be in a perpetual, 'closed' state, and in a city where parked cars in from indicates it's popularity, having parking off to the side doesn't give lend itself to any of the normal visual cues...
But the minute you walk in, you enter into a vibrant, cheery atmosphere that clearly didn't translate to the building's exterior. The lighting is beautiful, and interior has a lot of character if not a little quirky...(multiple clotheslines with hanging underwear is a first for this former restaurant designer...) and there's tons of references to Italy and beautiful actresses with self portraits of the Chef sprinkled in here and there (Chef Carla Pellegrino is stunning, although the room's starting to look like an alter you'd find in some stalker's house..)
In the Apps department, we started with the Fritto di Calamari e Zucchini- a great big mound of fried goodies. For the most part, the kitchen delivered a respectable plate of Italian American take on a classical Italian dish. The breading had a thicker consistency as well the Calamari was thickly cut to give us bigger chunks-it was as if we had stepped into a city that had a vibrant 'Little Italy'. Definitely had that, 'Rao's' influence on the hearty, family style dining.
I've been dying for Pasta for such a long, long, long ass time (no carb diets suck.....not that I'm on it or anything...just saying) and it been centuries in my mind since I've ordered Linguini al la Vongole: my passion for pasta harmoniously merged with the same intense passion for Seafood...and Garlic....and Olive Oil... I wish I lived off the Amalfi Coast and ate this dish for Lunch everyday.
But I was disappointed, with the Broth to be exact. I didn't get that soupy, clam sauce consistency and flavor profile, with the briny shell, the Garlic and White Wine and Parsley. Instead, this dish was heavy, oily in consistency without the tanginess of the Wine, the briny flavors
combined with Garlic that I craved...sad...
Rick Sr. ordered the Piccata al Limone; thin slices of Veal Scallopini with Lemon, Butter, Capers with a White Wine Sauce. The sides were Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Spinach, which seemed a little odd to me, but hey, a little bit of American to your Italian American dish ain't too bad I guess.
Well, Rick Sr. seemed to really love it- eh said the flavor was really good and that it's been a long time since he's had it, and he's glad he got it here. Another satisfied customer!!!
Bratalian has a dish that is terribly popular, and one that we've been dying to try! The Cotoletta di Maiale in Agrodolce- Pan seared Pork Chop in a sweet and sour sauce. With Sweet and Hot Peppers covering this Pork Chop, it was definitely a dish that I have never had in my life! I loved the flavors that came together in this dish; the dense protein was cook beautifully and with the sweet sauce that had a sour and pretty spicy kick to it afterwards, all senses were illuminated and charged full tilt... Great dish.
As for the Contorni, (sides) a popular dish is the Poplette Tradizionale: Meatballs made with Beef Veal and Pork covered in a fresh Tomato Marinara sauce and topped with Chopped Basil.
I'm usually not a fan of this dish, a famous Restaurant practically bastardized it for me, but I LOVED the Polpette here! the Meat was soft an noisy, definitely flavorful but not overpowering, it complimented with the Sauce.
I'm glad we have a gourmet Italian restaurant back in this area of town, and those who gawk at the prices, have you been to Carrabas? That's pure swill, the ambience is akin to a cafeteria with
Strip prices...so don't bitch....
Ratings (Out of Five Stars)