[Burlington, VT] Trattoria Delia


(John Hartley) #1

The Delia family has run a restaurant here for 25 years. That’s a long time in the hospitality industry. They have the business absolutely nailed – good menus, good cooking, good staff. We’d heard about it on the internet and it was, literally, just across the road from our hotel. No further discussion needed about whether to eat here or not.

The room itself is interesting. Whilst it’s in a modern building, the interior is all old wood. Very industrial. In fact, they bought an old working sugar house in New Hampshire and re-assembled it inside the building. You have a sense of eating in a large log cabin.

It’s a short menu – the type you might expect in a small town in Italy. A handful of antipasti, another handful of pasta dishes, a third handful of “secondi”. And, yes, there’s some Americanisation of the dishes but everything has its roots firmly in Italy. They bring you bread first and it’s excellent. A sourdough, I think, and rosemary butter.

For starters, squid rings and tentacles were given a light flouring and then deep fried. Great flavour here and perfect cooking, the squid rings soft, but retaining a little bite and the tentacles a bit crispy. Served separately was a bowl of a well flavoured tomato sauce – perfect for dunking.

A salad across the table – rocket, red onion, fennel and radish, dressed in balsamic vinaigrette. A light and fresh start to any meal. That was followed by a vast bowl of rigatoni. It’d easily have fed the both of us. The pasta was mixed with fennel flavoured meatballs and slices of Italian sausage, all in a tomato sauce (which may well have been a different sauce than the one with the squid). The dish was topped with a breaded slice of aubergine, topped with mozzarella. It was a thug of a dish – but in a good way. This was delicious food.

A more cheffy presentation went into a plate of local rabbit. There was long cooked leg, with crispy skin. The loin was wrapped in prosciutto and briefly cooked so the ham crisped, but the bunny remained moist. Baby new potatoes had been roasted and there were carrots and green beans, simply prepared so nothing distracted from the rabbit.

Tiramisu is one of my favourite Italian desserts (the other is cannolo). Favourite when it’s done well, that is. I’ll always order it in a new place, just to see if they can beat my #1 version (a place near home). All too often it’s too sweet, but not here. There’s the flavour of coffee and chocolate. And a little background hit from booze – it needed some more for perfection. But this may well rank as the second best ever eaten. Oh, and it comes as a vast portion – fortunately, we’d just ordered one and were sharing. We finished off with top quality espresso.

Service had been excellent with everything well paced – from the not feeling hurried over ordering through to the “take your time” with the coffee.

This really is the sort of place you wish would open up near wherever you live – so you become regulars. It you are in Burlington and have the opportunity to eat here, don’t miss out on the chance.