Friday, March 30, 2012
Appetite Adventure - Cafe Troia, Towson
if you are just joining me for my appetite adventure and aren't really sure what it is, find out about it here. you can see the full list of reviews so far here or by clicking the appetite adventure tab at the top of this page - right next to "home" and "about PW".
having worked in towson several years ago, i have visited the italian institution that is Cafe Troia. however, i haven't been in years - they have even moved across the street since i have visited. the atmosphere is cozy despite having several dining rooms and a bar.
we (E, my mom, and dad) started with drinks and a cheese plate that was predictable. i would have loved to see something other than the typical brie and bleu cheese. the fontina was a standout but the dried cranberries and walnuts left something to be desired.
my mom raved about their Gamberi in Guazzetto - one of their signature dishes of garlic shrimp. the jumbo shrimp was sauteed with roasted garlic, lemon, white wine and cream and served over grilled parmigiano toast. the cream sauce was amazing and the parmesan toast soaked up every last bit of the velvety garlic sauce.
my dad decided on the Veal Saltimbocca. he loved the mozzarella and the sauce. he also devoured the vegetables and said they complimented the dish perfectly.
E got one of his favorite dishes - Linguine con Vongole alla Positano (linguini with clams). i was surprised to see the sauce had tomatoes but it tasted like a mixture of white and red sauce. the miniature clams were sauteed with herbs, white wine, spinach and diced tomato. it may not of been his favorite creamy clam sauce, but he still really liked it.
i had a hard time deciding but finally settled on duck ravioli with arugula and balsamic glaze. Cafe Troia makes all their own pasta and it shows. the ravoili was tender and the glaze was excellent but i felt like it tasted a bit dry. perhaps the filling needed something or the sauce wasn't quite enough. big shavings of parmesan and arugula (my favorite) were a lovely addition.
whatever the duck was lacking, the dessert more than made up for it. our table had troubles deciding between Tiramisú and Lemon Napoleon, so we got both. they make all of their dessert on premises (except for the Cannoli).
the Lemon Napoleon was zesty and creamy and had layers of the most impossibly thin cinnamon sugar phyllo sheet. the tartness of the lemon curd was perfectly balanced with freshly whipped cream and dusted with powdered sugar.
i like to think you can judge the greatness of an italian restaurant by their Tiramisú. if this is correct, Cafe Troia is an outstanding place! the lady fingers were soaked with just the right balance of espresso and rum and the mascarpone based cream was rich and creamy while still managing to be light and fluffy.
we left full and happy and our every need was taken care of by our attentive waiter. he even managed to turn up a pair of magnifying glasses when my father discovered he forgot his. full service, classic italian food is what you will find at Cafe Troia. be sure to save room for dessert, you will not regret it.
disclaimer: it is incredibly hard to take good photos in a dimly lit restaurant. please forgive the less than quality photography.