The day: 18th June, Dinner.
The place: Via Garibaldi, 13 Villa Lagarina (TN), Italy (tel+39 0464 412245)
The venue: Trattoria La Cruna dell’Ago
Closest airports: Brescia (Ryanair), Verona (British Airways)
The food: Traditional regional cuisine with a modern take
The drinks: mainly local, some rare ones.
What a lovely little place this is: tucked away in the courtyard of an old building in the centre of this little town just outside Rovereto, this restaurant welcomes you with a profusion of plants and flowers.
In addition to a dining room inside
the restaurant also offers an “al fresco” option, with a scatter of tables in the cosy courtyard:
which we opted for.
The list is short (four choices in each section of starters, primi and secondi), but quite inspiring, and reasonably priced, with starters between €7 and €9, primi below €10 and mains between €11.50 and €14. We decided to skip the primi and go for a starter-main combination instead. We began with Marinated salmerino (a local type of trout) with salad (misticanza) and toasted pine nuts (at €9) and an Asparagus ‘cake’ with Asiago cheese fondue and pistachio nuts (at €8.50), followed by Roll of rabbit with balsamic vinegar “tiles” and Chardonnay salmon trout with almond flakes and parsley potatoes (the cheapest and the most expensive mains on the menu, at €11.50 and €14, respectively)
In the meantime, the bread arrives:
As you can see, two types, white (sliced) as well as herb rolls. It is prepared on the premises, and was rather decent.
Our starters arrive quite quickly:
The salmerino was nice: it came as a cold dish, with the flesh both thoroughly ‘cooked’ as well as moist and tender. The only negative point was that the citrus fruit (from the marinade) overpowered the pine nuts. Still, somebody from Maso Cantanghel should really pay a visit and try and learn something…
The asparagus cake was delightful: light and airy and tasty, deftly accompanied by the Asiago, with the contrast between the rich sauce and the soufflé-like cake nicely pulled off. Also very interesting the addition of pistachios.
Next, our mains
The rabbit had been boned, seasoned with herbs and rolled up, and came with a rich sauce with carrots, onions and obviously the rabbit juice. A very satisfying dish, though the cooking might have been better, in the sense that it was a bit rubbery (not up to the standards, for example, of Osteria Fior di Roccia). Also, given the diameter of the slice, and considering there was no stuffing, we started wandering about the size of this mega-rabbit…
The trout was really good, probably farmed, but it had been prepared perfectly! The flaked almonds were a really good match for the fish; also quite remarkable was the use of herbs in this dish, as well as the quality of all raw materials, with the potatoes unwilling to play a supporting role, and deserving attention on their own. Did we say already somebody from Maso Cantanghel should come over to learn a thing or two on how to cook trout?
To finish this off, we had a buckwheat tart with blueberry jam, and an almond crème caramel.
The latter was ok, though we thought that the caramel was too strong and covered up the delicate flavour of the almonds. Nice consistency, though, for this very decent dessert. The king, though was the buckwheat tart: superb: rustic, satisfying, with a very intense blueberry. The dough contained quite a bit of ground almonds, making it neither moist nor dry. Very good.
With a bottle of 2005 white Cimbrus at €11.50 (light and pleasant light) and one of water at €2, the total bill came at €65.50.
This nice family run establishment, which doubles up as a (small) B&B, is a very honest operation where to have a nice night out. The policy is that owner Simonetta Agostini conceives the dishes, which the chef then executes in the kitchen. Attention to details is evident in the careful use of herbs which are also sourced with equal attention, avoiding all those coming from near the vines at the time they get their chemical treatments, just to be sure there is no contamination. Service is also very efficient, polite and hospitable (not easy when you have to deal with tables as the impossibly-hard-to-please one next to ours, a mixture of obnoxiousness, grumpy petulance and condescendence which would have challenged the most patient of hosts!).
For a trattoria ‘with ambition’, this place does not match the stunning excellence of Osteria Fior di Roccia (available by the way at extremely reasonable prices), but for those passing or living nearby Rovereto, it is certainly a more than pleasant stop.