As we began looking for a wine exchange location for October 2012, it was about time we ventured into the south hills for a venue. Being new to the area, it felt only natural to start with some of the great BYOB locations which participated in Pittsburgh Restaurant Week.
On a cool fall night, we made reservations for Arpino Trattoria in Scott Township. As the name suggests, this quaint restaurant serves up Italian food from a kitchen inspired by the area of Arpino, Italy.
We started our meal with the Roman-Style Rice balls, something we’d never seen on an Italian menu before. They were served in a small pyramid in a bath of homemade marinara sauce. TasteBudA commented at how much he loved the marinara sauce, while I particularly liked the texture and slight cheesiness of the contents.
Following the appetizer, we each had entrees which were served with bountiful side salads. The house vinaigrette added such brightness to the salad that I even ate my olives. (Just to be clear, I love the taste of olives and the brine, but rarely actually eat olives themselves, unless in a martini or the like.)
For our entrees, I ordered the Linguine Pomodoro ($17) with the addition of Shrimp ($4 add-on). The dish came with vibrantly colored cherry tomatoes. The dish was tossed in a light garlic sauce and topped with nicely sized shrimp. Not that Arpino is the only restaurant to do this – but why are the tails very rarely removed from shrimp when served in a pasta dish? It adds an unneeded step for the diner and I think restaurants should contemplate making their dishes easier to consume.
For his entree, TasteBudA ordered the Zucchini Rollatini as a throw-back to his former waitering days at Don Parmesan. When served, he realized that this dish wasn’t exactly the way it had been done from his previous restaurant, but it was a pleasant surprise. He expected the entire dish to be piping hot through the center, but Arpino took a creative twist with it. The entree was cooked first, and then the addition of the cold cheese was added. It gave the dish a contrast with each bite. TasteBudA was quite pleased that he got even more marinara with this dish.
As for a wine exchange location, the restaurant seats about 40 guests and is BYOB. Thanks to our pleasant experience with the wait staff and chef, we are happy to be hosting out October 2012 Wine Exchange at Arpino.