Tramonto’s Fine Italian Dining [Richmond, BC]
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After a long day of flights, hotel check-ins and holding in anxious bouts of nerves in anticipation of finally meeting the Tourism Richmond group, we arrived at Tramonto’s Fine Italian Dining with the weight of the day finally melting away like a long forgotten memory.
As we found our seats and had an opportunity to look around and take in the extravagant, grandiose atmosphere, it became ever apparent that we were in for a treat. We ordered wine, a delicate citrusy Gray Monk Pinot Gris from the Okanagan Valley, and looked out over the Fraser River as the sun began to make its descent into an electric, vibrant orange horizon beyond.
Our server, Tracy, who made it hard not to feel abuzz with passion as he enthusiastically shared the evening’s specials, his favourite dishes, and recommendations for us, was so skilled at describing Tramonto’s fares that we opted to order a little of everything off the Starter menu as making one decision felt far too daunting with all the enticing options.
As we chatted and became more acquainted with one another, I looked to my right to catch a glimpse of the most colourful, skillfully plated works of art I’ve seen in some time. The scallops, seared beautifully and ever-so-translucent in the centre, were delicate and creamy. The tomato chutney was vibrant and rich though, for me, perhaps slightly too forceful to complement the subtle scallop flavour. The citrusy avocado salad was more my speed. Also present, a velvety Goat Cheese Panna Cotta served atop beet carpaccio, baby arugula, roasted walnuts and tomato confit. It was the perfect balance - the spicy arugula cutting through the richness of the panna cotta while the beets gave the dish a more apparent depth.
My entree selection, which was a decision not for the faint-of-heart, was a half-and-half selection of the Halibut special and the Garginelli pasta (I realized only after they were placed in front of me that my eyes were far bigger than my stomach). The halibut filet was sliced in half and rolled around a leek emulsion and served over a bed of white asparagus, snap peas, greens beans and carrots that swam happily in a succulent sea of vichyssoise-esque cream. To say it was good would be a disservice to the dish. It was rich and elegant, stunningly prepared. The Garginelli was cooked perfectly al dente, the creamy blue cheese sauce tangy and rich. I appreciated the flavour of the short rib itself, but I would have prefered something with a bit of acidity to cut through the heaviness of the dish, though the tomato confit gave a valiant effort.
One of my favourite bites of the evening was a threesome of sorbet, vivacious and peppy in colour and harmonious in taste. The raspberry tasted of freshly plucked berries while the apple had a slightly acidic kick that I happily welcomed after the heavy meal. Like the raspberry, the mango sorbet tasted distinctly of fresh, brilliantly ripe, juicy mango. There couldn’t have been a better way to complete the meal…. other than a foamy cappucino, which Tramonto also prepared immaculately.
All in all, dinner was superbly enjoyable. The service was beyond compare, for which we owe a debt of gratitude to Tracy and Peter Contos, the private party coorindator. If I do return, which of course I hope to, I might opt for a few of the less cream-heavy dishes so I can make my way through my entire meal without having to stop to make sure my heart is still pumping. You know me, I can never resist the comfort of cream.
Thank you, Tramonto, for a delightful experience!