Sunday, June 15, 2014

I am quite familiar with Michele Forgione's food when he was the former executive chef at Osteria Venti. Being at Venti several times in the first year of its opening, we usually opted for the 4-course tasting menu composed of antipasti, primi, secondi and dolci. This is one of the first restaurant in Montreal that I learn to admire what Italian food is all about.

Now that he left Venti, he moved on to his new venture in opening Impasto, located in Little Italy, alongside with TV chef and cookbook author Stefano Faita. The opening of Impasto created a huge buzz and high expectations for good food in the foodie community. Considering its reputation, reservation is a must. Luckily, when we called the day before, we managed to grab the remaining two seats at the bar for Thursday lunch. Sitting at the bar is probably the best seats in the restaurant where you can see all the actions in the kitchen.

Impasto serves food that is simple with a refined touch to comfort dishes. Rarely do I order pasta in fine dining restaurant. One obvious reason is the high cost of the pasta dishes which can be made at home for much less. The pasta here are house made using oat flour. Its texture is quite special, it is not the typical al dente feel when one buys store bought.

The lunch menu is short and at the same appealing. It has 2 appetizers, 3 mains and 2 desserts. We had a hard time choosing which main to try out. We started off the meal with an arugula salad topped with candied pecans and gorgonzola cheese. Tangy arugula and sweet candied pecans cut down nicely the strong taste of the cheese.

We then opted for the two pasta dishes. The gramigne is a small curly pasta tossed in a sausage ragu and escarole. The paccheri has the shape of a large round tube, cooked in a veal jus with arugula and mushroom - rich and earthy flavours with some greens to cut down the richness of the dish. Both dishes are so addictive that we can't stop eating. We even wiped the plate with a piece of bread.

Finally, we had to choose between two classic Italian desserts: tiramisu and panna cotta. I made tiramisu so many times that we chose to try out the panna cotta. The panna cotta here is somewhat special, it is made of a buffalo milk yogourt topped with a layer of sour cherry jelly. It is light and silky accentuated with the sweet and sour taste of cherry - a great dessert to finish the meal.

Gramigne con ragu di cotechino e escarole
Insalata di rucola, ravanello, gorgonzola e nocci
Paccheri funghi, mascarpone e rucola
Buffalo Milk Panna Cotta
48 rue Dante
Montreal, QC
H2S 1J6
Impasto on Urbanspoon


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