Entertainment | Restaurants & Dining | May 2009
|Restaurant Week at Trattoria Michel|
Gary R. Beck - PVNN
Swiss Michel Pascal Ferrari brings his knowledge of authentic Italian cuisine to bring Puerto Vallarta the traditional tastes of Tuscany at Trattoria Michel. Located in the heart of the Zona Romantica, Trattoria Michel boasts an elegant - and air conditioned - all white interior dining room in addition to the al fresco L-shaped sidewalk cafe-style seating at linen-covered wooden tables with rush seat chairs. Twinkling candlelight gives a shimmering effect to both areas, glowing after the sun falls below the bay's horizon.
|Trattoria Michel is located at Olas Altas 507, on the south side of Puerto Vallarta. For more information, visit Trattoria.com.mx.|
Owner Michel suggests that this is a place to relax and enjoy your dinner, emphasizing the fact that all menu items are cooked a la minute (when they are ordered,) and we did just that when we visited this Italian eatery during Restaurant Week 2009.
Our group started with lightly dressed Baby Spinach Salad with sautéed chicken livers and sharp Pecorino Romano cheese shavings. The mixing of the flavors was unusual but quite tasty. Fettuccine was tossed with a full and fresh garlic tomato sauce. No canned ingredients are used in this kitchen's preparations. The pasta was cooked properly al dente and generous.
Sautéed Baby Squid rings and tentacles were fork-tender and mixed with a spicy Arrabiata tomato sauce, garnished with a sprig of fresh rosemary. The dish was intense and full-bodied, bursting with tomatoes direct from the garden.
Entrées started with a really good risotto which seems difficult to find, except when made by a chef with the necessary background in Italian cuisine since the arborio rice must be lightly browned in olive oil and slowly cooked with beef stock added while stirring constantly. This version was done to near perfection with the rice creamy but firm and robustly accented with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Dried porcini mushrooms were incorporated in the dish supplying a delicate earthy touch.
Two large Char-Grilled Chicken Breasts lay atop a spicy Sicilian vegetable melange of eggplant, tomato, potato, bell pepper, green olives, capers and chile. Herbs and spices led one's taste buds directly to sun-drenched Italy. Same can be said for spicy Grilled Italian Sausage on lentils and tender chopped carrots, onion, tomato and celery. The links were juicy inside but with a crisp covering. Flavors melded together with crusty bread serving as collector of the delicious sauce.
Fine desserts followed, led by Panna Cotta, a version of an Italian flan. The texture was smooth and creamy yet firm. A strawberry purée drizzled around the edge accented the lightness of the dish. It was a refreshingly rich difference from the Mexican flan.
Sabayón is a staple on Italian dessert menus. One guest ordered it flavored with Amaretto, one with Port wine. The "puffy cloud" was hand-beaten and frothy, made of egg yolks, sugar and a touch of water and vinegar. Michel showed his arm tendons, which must be worked tirelessly to incorporate air into this dessert. Simply put, simply divine. All desserts were accompanied with a chunk of biscotti.
While other restaurants attempt to present authentic Italian cuisine, the food here is created with old-world recipes by a trained Swiss chef. Return visits are necessary to explore the wide-ranging choices of the menu.
Open from 12 noon to 11 pm, Trattoria Michel is located at Olas Altas 507, on the south side of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. For more information, visit Trattoria.com.mx. For reservations, call (322) 223-2088.
The author was supplied one choice in each of the 3 courses on the special Restaurant Week menu and this review is in no way connected to his independent restaurant guide, "Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Guide Beck's Best," where write-ups receive no compensation.
Restaurant Week continues through May 31st at some of the most recognized restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. For a list of participating restaurants and Restaurant Week 2009 reviews click HERE.