Tre Monte, an unassuming Italian restaurant and bar which has been around since February 2003.
This past Wednesday, I received a complimentary invitation to attend a special food blogger dinner at Tre Monte. Nine other food bloggers (some who I knew from previous events and some who were new to me) and I attended this event, and I believe our general impression of the restaurant's cuisine was fairly similar, as well as very positive.
We got to meet Chef/Owner Anthony Contarino, who also owns The Brickyard, a new pizza & burger bar (which I will be reviewing in the near future). Both of Anthony's grandmothers were from southern Italy, and they each cooked in a different style. From his maternal grandmother, Anthony learned how to make pasta. Interestingly, though he grew up with southern cuisine, he prefers to cook northern Italian.
Anthony was formally trained at Johnson & Wales and has worked at other restaurants, including Tuscan Grill, La Finestra and Giovanni's Trattoria. On the menu, Anthony's two favorites dishes are the Stuffed Chicken and Bolognese. I found Anthony to be a personable, down-to-earth chef with a true passion for Italian cuisine.
It is a very casual restaurant, and a good place for small groups as well. There is somewhat of a homey atmosphere to the place, that traditional Italian hospitality. The restaurant has a full liquor license, so you can enjoy cocktails, wines or beer with your dinner. The wine list is primarily Italian, with a scattering of other regions such as California and Australia. With our meal, we drank the 2006 Grati Villa di Ventrice Riserva Chianti Rufina (a simple and pleasant, fruity red) and the 2009 Colterenzio Weisshau Pinot Bianco Weinburgunder (a bright, light bodied white with delicious flavors of melon, peach and pear). The Colterenzio was my favorite of the two wines, and it is a perfect summer wine.
The food menu has plenty of choices and is broken down into: Antipasti (10 choices at $7.99-$13.99), Insalata (5 at $5.99-$8.99), Classics (4 at $17.99-$18.99), Entrees (10 at $18.99-$28.99), and Pasta (9 at $16.99-$21.99). Entrees come with choice of 2 Sides (6 options) and some of the Entrees are daily specials, thus subject to change. Of the pasta choices with several of the dishes, you have the option of homemade fusilli, which I highly recommend. Prior to your food arriving, you will receive a basket of fresh bread with oil & herbs for dipping.
I prefer Bolognese that is prepared from three meats, beef, pork and veal as I feel it provides more depth of flavor. Thus, Anthony's sauce scores on that point. As for the taste of the sauce, Anthony did very well, definitely one of the better Bolognese I have tasted. There was plenty of meat in the sauce, a good blend of tastes and the pasta was a nice al dente. I would like to see what it would taste like with red wine instead of white, but that it my own intellectual, culinary curiosity. I would highly recommend the Bolognese.
Others ordered entrees like Chicken Parmigiana (a huge dish, and I did get a taste which was delicious), Swordfish, Ribeye and Potato Gnocchi. Quantity was very ample, and several people had to take home doggie bags. Everyone seemed very pleased with their meals, and I heard many compliments going around the table.
Service was very good and the overall experience was delicious, fun and satisfying. Prices are reasonable considering the quality and quantity of food. I will return to try more of their dishes, and it deserves my hearty recommendation.