Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tre Monté

Chef/Owner Anthony Contarino opened TreMonté Restaurant & Bar in the bustling downtown area of Woburn Center back in 2003. As a boy growing up in Medford with not one, but two Italian Grandmothers, his curiosity in the kitchen stemmed from a young age. Sunday mornings rolling pasta dough with his grandmothers combined with formal training from Johnson and Whales, his food is a heartwarming exemplification of both passion and technique. I arrived at the complimentary blogger dinner to a table set for ten with bread baskets and accompanying red pepper and herb infused olive oil, uncorked bottles of wine ready to be consumed and a waitress eager to take our drink order should wine not suffice. I helped myself to the bread and started with the 2009 Colterenzio Pinot Bianco Weisshaus a light bodied combination of fresh fruit with a hint of minerals that paired nicely with the array of appetizers that shortly followed. Each antipasti presented was impeccably prepared with an unmistakable Italian authenticity. I would not hesitate to recommend every single one, the only deciding factor should come down to what you're in the mood for. The Arancini ($8.99) deserves my highest compliments. Living in Boston's Little Italy, I've tasted some of the best and this is right up there with it. Melted cheese encased by ground meat cascades out of crispy fried rice balls. Flavorful marinara, fresh grated Parmesan and a chiffonade of basil prove no detail was overlooked. In the Melazana ($8.99) breaded eggplant is layered with tomato basil sauce and mozzarella cheese, then baked and generously topped with a silky, creamy, basil pesto alfredo sauce. That sauce was something to appreciate, often individual toppings are a pesto or an Alfredo, however, the combination of both, to me, felt adventurous! (Maybe I have just been missing out?)The egg battered Shrimp Grand Mariner ($11.99) offered something entirely different to the antipasto round up. Foregoing the typical savory sauce, the citrusy orange liqueur is reduced to a sweet glaze that complimented the well cooked, lightly battered shrimp. The next appetizer is simply labeled on the menu as Sausage ($9.99) which is a grilled garlic and cheese sausage over a bed of spinach and cannellini beans. That flavorful broth lent a comforting element to the dish, proving another worthy antipasti choice. Often the defining factor of an Italian chefs prowess, the Bolognese ($17.99) uses Chef Contarino's own special recipe combining beef, pork and veal in a white wine based sauce. When the hearty flavorful sauce meets with long flat strands of undeniably fresh homemade tagliatelle, this dish outshines even some of the most satisfactory Bolognese I've tasted in the North End. (I can't help but compare!) At this point I decided a glass of the red wine was in order. The 2006 Villa di Vetrice Chianti Rufina Riserva is a classic Italian dry red wine, it had rich red berry notes and a clean finish. For my entree I chose the Veal Saltimbocca which was one of the evenings specials. Given a choice of homemade pasta, I chose the Fusilli at the strong urging of the waitress. Two generous slabs of breaded veal are pounded thin and topped with melted cheese and salty slices of prosciutto. Long thick grooved ribbons of al dente fusilli were tender while remaining firm, their freshness unparalleled. Bright, lemony flavors bring the dish together enhancing the veal and fusilli all the more. The entire table was equally as impressed with their entrees, many ordered the same thing as me, others the classic Chicken Parmigana and Grilled Swordfish. Preceding dessert, we were offered coffee or espresso. I added a "tini" onto the latter and our waitress happily obliged. With a full bar and a lengthy martini menu to match, it only felt right to sample one at some point. The cold frothy Espresso Martini ($9) did not disappoint. Neither did dessert. While it's not made in house, imported Italian sweets include Tiramisu ($6), Cannolis ($6) and Profiteroles ($6.50). The desserts remain traditional with exception of the profiteroles, which are filled with cappuccino gelato! (Usually it's vanilla or pastry cream.) I loved this swap! Our waitresses genuine hospitality resonated throughout dinner; as well all our dishes were delivered timely and with precision. As for Chef Contarino, I could embark on a paragraph about the characteristics that make him who he is, and as a result, this restaurant what it is. However, I'd simply like to let this snapshot speak for itself. If you find yourself seeking an alternative to all that city dining entails, look no further than Woburn's TreMonté Restaurant & Bar. I actually found it refreshing to experience Italian fine dining outside the confines of the North End. Serving up hearty portions of Italian cuisine from the classics to some new creations in an unpretentious space with reasonable prices to match, Tre Monté is deserving of all the praise I have to offer.

Tremonte Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

19 comments:

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

It was so good seeing you last week! xo

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

That fusili with the veal looks sooo good. Nice and thick! Sounds like a lovely dinner!

In and Around Town said...

Those desserts look great - love loads of different bites so you can taste it all!

Megan said...

What a great review! The eggplant appetizer is right up my alley!

I had profiteroles filled with hazelnut cream at Dante last night and I loved the change from plain vanilla filling.

Lindsey @ BeantownEats said...

I was so disappointed to miss this, although I know Jon had a great time. Food looked awesome. And your pictures came out beautiful!

Michelle Collins said...

I've never heard of this place, but work right by Woburn - I'll have to check this place out!

Jen said...

Everything looks delicious and it sounds like a truly awesome place to visit! The breaded eggplant looks divine. And those drinks are going to have me turning up my nose at my five dollar bottle of wine. ;)

MelissaNibbles said...

The arancini looks incredible. It's my favorite Italian dish.

Amber Blue Bird said...

this certainly looks like a place where you can get a good meal at a reasonable price and with good service. Sign me up.

Elizabeth said...

That sausage with spinach and beans looks delightful. Looks like a great meal!

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

what a dessert plate! i am a sucker for an arancini ;)

Shannon said...

wow, i'm totally craving italian now! everything sounds fantastic, i'll have to remember this one :)

Simply Life said...

do you think they could just deliver a bucket of arancini to my doorstep? I think that's really all I need to survive :)

Lizzy said...

Daisy!!! Everything looks sooooo delicious! As always, I love your writing and detials.

Hey random question. Have you downloaded picasa yet? It's free!! And the auto color correct fixes dark pictures... it's sorta amazing. Just wanted to pass on that info.

Oh and plus you can do fun collages : )

kfenton917 said...

Every dish you experienced and write about makes me want 2 of everything especially the arancini & eggplant. You definitely captured a terrific picture of Chef Contarino!

this free bird said...

Arancini makes me VERY VERY VERY HAPPY. Did I say very?

Joanne said...

Whoa you would have had to roll me out of this place. everything looks amazing!

5 Star Foodie said...

An awesome meal - the arancini look scrumptious and the veal sounds excellent!

Bridget said...

You wrote an amazing review! I'm still so bummed I missed this one...I'm about a 10min WALK from Tre Monte! Brian and I have been talking about trying it since we moved to Woburn (2 years ago haha). So me thinks that needs to happen sooner than later :)