Saturday, October 25, 2008

Garden party indulgence at I Trulli

Last Thursday evening, I made my way down to the delightful Italian restaurant I Trulli to hit up their final "garden party" of the fall. My companion, who has requested to be known only as "Mysterious Blog Friend" (MBF), and I made our way back to I Trulli's back patio to indulge in a $45 all-you-can-eat-and-drink antipasti and wine extravaganza.

The patio, which is a beautiful covered space, was cleared out to create a space for mingling. There was a wine table at one end, a buffet table at the other, and heat lamps warming the atmosphere in between. We paid our fees, grabbed glasses of prosecco, and tackled the food table. Below are some of the ample offerings, which we tasted methodically while supplementing with glasses of Italian wine.

I grabbed a thin piece of the focaccia-- it was superb, if a little greasy

The panzanella didn't impress me. Something about soggy bread just doesn't make it for me.

This cheese plate was one of the standouts. There were several kinds, including parmesan and some others I couldn't identify, but all were truly exceptional.

Delicious grilled veggies, including eggplant, zucchini, asparagus, scallions, and fennel

MBF claimed the meat was really salty, but he pointed out that they were slicing it fresh on their own slicer at the front of the restaurant. Extra points for that.

Some sort of wheatberry salad-- nothing much to say about this. Neither here nor there.

Shrimp. I didn't eat this, but it looked pretty.

Sausage, peppers, and onions. I tried one of the peppers, which was surprisingly good. MBF said the sausage was bland. How do you make underseasoned sausage??

A waiter came around with mini calzones, as he called them. They seemed more like empanadas, deep fried and filled with a tiny dollop of mozzarella and a teensy piece of tomato. These erupted with grease when you bit into them, and they were extraordinarily hollow. We determined they were sort of like an upscale mozzarella stick... although I think I like regular mozzarella sticks better.

Classic Caprese. MBF said the mozzarella was really milky, but I'm sad to say I didn't get a piece before the crowds demolished this plate.

There were a number of other offerings I didn't get to capture on film, including a tasty arugula, tomato, and parmesan salad; dishes of olives; and a few pasta offerings, to mention a few. Needless to say we didn't go away hungry.

The final treat was a huge birthday cake brought out for one of the owner's sister. I grabbed a piece; the light vanilla cake with raspberry filling and white buttercream, served alongside chocolate ice cream (an unconventional choice), was just what I needed at the end of the evening.

Beautiful AND scrumptious

I'm very glad we decided to check this out. It was an impressive spread of food, much of which was vegetarian (MAJOR props to I Trulli), and with unlimited wine, $45 for the evening seemed like quite a good deal. If they decide to offer the Garden Party again this fall or winter, definitely go check it out. You'll come away full and happy.

I Trulli
122 E. 27th Street, between Park and Lex

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