TRE VISI CAFE
Address: 926 Grosvenor Avenue
Entrees: $15 – $28
Though its red-bricked exterior and well-windowed walls are unassuming, a contemporary world of upscale Italian classics awaits through the doors at Tre Visi Cafe.
Simplicity reigns in its decoration as muted tones are enlivened with a burgundy accent wall popping colour. The menu is seemingly much the same with its stable of old-world favourites, but expectation and reality diverge as dishes familiar to many classic Italian establishments surprise with elegant, refined presentations that rejuvenate.
An enticing list of antipasti sets the stage while setting the bar exceedingly high. Crisp zucchini fritti are an outstanding take on the faithful french fry. Bite into the light battering concealing sticks of tender, juicy zucchini and it takes a second to remember this is no humble deep-fried potato. A piquant aioli adds understated heat and garlic notes.
Well-executed meatballs are the mark of any exceptional Italian spot, and Tre Visi’s polpette achieve top marks. Resting in rich tomato sauce and dusted lightly with parmesan, a combination of beef, veal and pork creates a smooth, nearly creamy consistency. A close relative of egg drop soup, stracciatella makes extraordinary use of its few ingredients and extracts every ounce of flavour to produce a light and warming nosh.
While starters could steal the show, brilliantly concocted mains maintain top billing. Classic flavours shine through stinco di agnello. Lamb shank braised in red wine positively melts away when speared, producing a smoky meat with remarkable tenderness. The hock’s exposed bone gives plating a rustic elegance, settled atop luscious risotto milanese.
By contrast, vitello piccata delivers light, bright flavours. A smooth white wine butter sauce provides the backdrop, but what punches through and truly elevates this dish is the briny, sour zip produced by a combination of lemon and capers.
Traditional tiramisu packs a welcome boozy wallop up front, mitigated by soft cookies, a smattering of cinnamon and a healthy dose of sweet whipped cream.
Tre Visi is open Wed-Sun 5 pm-close.