Last night, my husband, his parents, my parents and I joined for a lovely dinner. I had originally suggested we choose the Broder's Pasta Bar on 50th and Penn, famous for their extensive freshly made pasta list. We arrived at Broder's at 7pm on a Wednesday night (they DON'T take reservations!) only to be told to wait 1 hour and 45 minutes to be seated!!!... I mean WHAT? I understand the pasta is fantastic but at 7pm we are hungry and not inclined to wait in a crowded rainy patio for hours. Thus came our brilliant idea to drive a few miles to Trattoria Tosca, another amazing Italian restaurant in Linden Hills. Trattoria Tosca is probably my favorite Italian restaurant in the Twin Cities. Every time I dine there I am left with a feeling of contentment and bliss. I feel as though I could be transported to Italy at any moment and be eating the very same pasta. The pasta is made fresh in house and their menu changes by the week, ensuring each dish is as fresh and local as possible. Don't expect your traditional spaghetti or caesar on the menu, each dish is well-thoughtout and unique. I did notice from the last time I dined at Trattoria about a year ago they have removed their 'half portion' pastas from the menu which I greatly enjoyed. I would order a half size pasta and salad and feel perfectly content by the close of the meal. I also noticed their prices have increased, making this eatery fit more into the "special occasion" restaurant list.
The restaurant design is minimal with chocolate brown wood tables and chairs and a black and white tiled floor reminiscent of an old pharmacy or general store. Their menu reflects that same simplicity with paper menus featuring 3 salads, 5 pastas and 4 proteins. I actually enjoy the decision making process when there aren't 50 choices to decide from. However, I knew what I wanted to order within seconds, having seen the words, "tagliatelle," "lobster" and "truffle" all in the same sentence!!! I mean how can you go wrong with that dynamic trio?! I convinced my mother to share the pasta with me and order their fennel and arugula salad to share. The salad hit all the right notes: sweet from the apples and heirloom tomatoes, spice from the peppadew peppers, smokey from the aged gouda and acidity from the citrus vinaigrette. The wow factor did not arrive of course until the pasta arrived looking devilishly delectable. Tagliatelle a lesser known pasta shape in which they cut the dough into a ribbon shape, much wider than a fettuccine. When cooked al dente, (like they do at Trattoria) you can taste a slight bite or chewy consistency I adore. The pasta was set is a light cream sauce with pecorino, truffle, shallot, lobster and pancetta... absolute heaven. I have to say this was the best pasta I have had all year. I felt like royalty eating each silky ribbon of pasta and ever so often hooking a plump piece of lobster on my fork. I cannot speak for my fellow diners, but I was quite impressed. For dessert we decided to share a piece of marble cheesecake, which was delicious of course but certainly not the best I have tried. Hey, you can't over-achive at everything :).