Competent Mediterranean in the heart of Little Italy at Trella
Restaurants in Little Italy face a lot of stiff competition. With so many great places to dine at, I wondered if one of the newer kids on the block, Trella, would be up to the task. From the looks of things, they are doing a lot of things right but still have room to improve in some respects.
Banquet seating, glass doors, a bar decorated with row upon row of Grey Goose vodka bottles and a lofty ceiling create a contemporary look, though the ’80s rock playing over the stereo system didn’t quite fit with the upscale loungy feel of the restaurant. The large patio outside felt well insulated from the noise of the Queensway traffic in spite of the fact it was just steps away.
The rolls here weren’t especially noteworthy, though the mixture of olives, balsamic vinegar and olive oil brought to the table with the bread was a nice touch.
After much debate over the extensive, mostly Mediterranean menu, my father and I settled on a couple of appetizers. His Greek salad was competently prepared with cucumbers, black olives, strips of red pepper, crumbled feta, a simple oregano-spiked vinaigrette and chunks of ripe, sweet tomatoes. The tomatoes were especially nice given that there’s been a shortage of good tomatoes on the market lately due to crop failure south of the border. The appetizer portion of gnocchi in Gorgonzola cream was a delight. The luxuriously creamy sauce wasn’t overpoweringly blue, and the red grapes in the dish were a welcome foil to all the heavy richness of the cream.
The Corleone pizza had a nice thin crust and was topped with prosciutto, red peppers, pesto and goat cheese. Though the combination of ingredients was a tad salty, it was a successful dish nonetheless. The fettuccine Alfredo with chicken was as it should be – rich and loaded with cream. The chicken had a nice charred flavour from the grill.
It was the seafood linguine in rosé sauce that was the star of the night. The dish presented beautifully, garnished with fresh basil and topped with mussels in the shell. The scallops and the shrimp in the dish were large and perfectly cooked. I’d recommend ordering this one in a heartbeat.
The desserts were not up to par with the rest of the food. I suspect they might have seen the inside of a freezer. With so many good bakeries in town, I find it hard to shell out more than a few bucks for something that wasn’t made from scratch, but then my sweet tooth does have pretty high standards. My advice: Go for the great pasta and skip the dessert.
Trella Mediterranean Grill and Bar
345-A Preston St.
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