Not only do we have an abundance of talented chefs in Cleveland, but our chefs tend to create “restaurant dynasties.” From Michael Symon to Dante Boccuzzi to Zack Bruell to Doug Katz, some of our best chefs have multiple restaurant kitchens in which to explore their culinary creativity.
Chef Jonathon Sawyer is expanding his restaurant dynasty from The Greenhouse Tavern and Noodlecat to include Restaurant Trentina in University Circle. As Matthew commented as we attended the Friends & Family preview this past weekend, there is no chef we’d rather see expanding his restaurant offerings.
This intimate restaurant has been redone from the Sergio’s days to sparkle with gold-edged and mirrored tables, a beautiful chandelier, and lots of light.
Much like the interior design, the Menu Bianco, which is a tasting menu and the exclusive offering at Trentina, is truly something different and beautiful. I know I will not do justice to explaining all the complex and unique ingredients in the courses, but I can share the pictures and tell you what we loved.
My favorite from this course was the Crusto di Polenta, which was light and crisp, with a hint of lemon.
Caviar & Ciccoli
This course tasted like a fancy Italian Bugle, with light and crisp puffed pasta filled with fluffy cheese.
This was the first of several courses where Matthew and I received different plates, allowing us to try even more flavors and essentially have a similar, but still unique, dining experience. My course featured two oysters: one with Rittman apples and one with a sauce similar to a Chinese XO sauce. Matthew’s course was a scallop, artfully presented on its shell.
Sable Fish al Cartoccio
This course was delicate and yet flavorful. The textures were perfect and the broth sublime. One of our favorite courses!
How did I fail to get a picture? A candle made of beef suet was brought to the table, along with bread to dip in it. Such a unique concept!
Pasta alla Chitarra
As Chef Sawyer explained (Chef came to each table to explain the courses), this means pasta “of the guitar” in Italy, where the pasta is extruded through guitar strings. My pasta featured abalone and delicious citrus notes. Matthew’s pasta featured pork and was topped with an egg cooked in a spoon over embers. Another favorite course!
This pasta course focused on cabbage and cheese. My course had tiny pasta pillows covered by a cabbage leaf and topped with mushroom and cheese. Matthew’s course featured a cabbage “meatball.”
Tender, delicious, and not gamy at all, these birds were a delicious start to our entree courses.
Beasts Roasted Over Embers
So, we might have dove right in to eating and then realized we didn’t take pictures. So, imagine these with more food! My course was Ohio aged beef that was melt-in-my-mouth good. Matthew had venison served with pickled eggplant. Perhaps our favorite course of the night!
Any menu with three sweet course is alright by me! The first was strawberry and pistachio sorbet with yogurt. Very refreshing!
Strudel is not a dessert I expect to find at an Italian restaurant, but Trentina takes strudel and makes it their own. These deconstructed desserts featured apricot and fig leaf gelato (left) and apple (right).
No better way to say “thank you” then with housemade milk chocolate with gold dust and cocoa nibs!
Our meal was a truly extraordinary experience. From the surroundings to the pace, size, and explanation of the courses to the delicious and unique food itself, Chef Sawyer and Executive Chef Matt Danko have created something truly special with Restaurant Trentina.
Trentina opens to the public on July 8. The Menu Bianco is the exclusive offering in the dining room, but the patio will feature a more “relaxed” tasting menu. Wine pairing is available with the tasting menu. Matthew had the wine pairing with his meal and it is a must-add! Be sure to check out the latest addition to Chef Sawyer’s restaurant dynasty!
***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Friends & Family opening of Trentina with a guest. Our meals were complimentary, but the wine tasting, tax, and gratuity were paid for ourselves. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***