Hot Off The Grill at Trattoria Neapolis

After “grilling” the new chef we just had to try the new menu

Friday, November 14, 2014 | 12:24 am

drinkresizeAfter Pasadena Now’s “grilling” of Trattoria Neapolis’ new chef Clinton McCann (click here for the article) it was time to taste the food. With a special tasting menu created just for us (a copy of it follows this review), we were excited to get down to the business of eating.

As owner Perry Vidalakis explained our tasting menu would feature the special “four-tiered” drink program at Trattoria. From cocktails to beer and wine to coffee, Vidalakis has taken special care to seek out only the very best. Diego Meraviglia created the wine list featuring wines from Italy and California, Christina Perozzi put together the beer list focusing on artisanal brewers from LA County and Italy. Cocktails were developed by Vincenzo Marianella dubbed the Godfather of the LA cocktail scene and Stumptown roasters is the featured coffee.

arancini resizeOur first course of Blue Crab Arancini was paired with the Easton a cocktail of house infused cucumber vodka, lime and mint. Crispy balls of risotto flavored with basil and ricotta and dotted with blue crab was accented to perfection with a remoulade of grainy mustard. A garnish of frisee and pickled fennel added crunch to the dish. The citrus notes of the Easton cocktail made the Arancini sing.

A Caprese salad was paired with an Allagash White, Belgian-style wheat beer. The salad had heirloom tomatoes, burrata cheese, basil chiffonade and balsamic fig vinaigrette. The use of heirloom tomatoes and burrata cheese made this a slight departure from the usual, adding the fig vinaigrette really kicked it up a notch. The only criticism I have is that although delicious, the vinaigrette was just too sweet, I would like to see a bit more acid.

saladresizeOur next dish was taken from the Modern Classics category of the menu. Using the traditional Cacciatore sauce chef Clinton then took it from the ordinary by using fresh cod as the protein instead of chicken and adding roasted potatoes. The sauce was a luscious melange of tomatoes, white wine, bell peppers and garlic. It was rich and thick and did the fresh fish justice. The Cacciatore was paired with a Trefethen Chardonnay from the Napa Valley.

Bringing chef Clinton’s experience at Delmonico’s into play our next entry came from the Wood Burning Grill portion of the menu. Protein choices are paired with a sauce of your choice along with a side dish. We were treated to the New York steak with a trio of sauces: Gorgonzola Cream Sauce, Balsamic BBQ sauce, and Barolo wine sauce. We also got to try a couple of sides: baby broccolini and creamy polenta.

steak740recolorThe New York steak was tender, smoky and charred to perfection. Each of the sauces were delicious and gave the steak a different flavor note. I can’t say which was my favorite because they were all so good. The broccolini was sauteed with garlic, Calabrian chili and lemon vinaigrette. Tender stalks of bright broccolini had a bite of chili and a tangy finish. The polenta was a creamy dish of Anson Mills organice stone ground corn polenta and accented with Parmigiano cheese. This course was served with a Super Tuscan from Monte Antico Winery.

A rich chocolate semifreddo was dessert. Served with caramelized hazelnuts, Nutella crunch, Brûléed bananas and creamy frozen yogurt, it was sweet chocolate harmony on a plate. Served with Stumptown coffee it was a delightful end to a delicious meal.

Trattoria Neapolis is located at 336 S. Lake Avenue, Pasadena. They are open for lunch: Monday – Friday 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; Intermezzo (Mid-day menu): Monday – Sunday 3:00 – 5:30 p.m.; Aperitivo (Italian happy hour) Monday – Friday 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.; and Diner Sunday – Thursday 5:30 – 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5:30 – 10:30 p.m.

For reservations or more information call (626) 792-3000 or visit


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