Dante - Tremont, OH (Cleveland)
Tremont has been on my bucket list since I first started traveling to Cleveland. It's one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cleveland just a few minutes southwest of Downtown. I finally had the opportunity to adventure there with a couple of friends and it was truly a magical experience.
Dante is a unique restaurant right in the heart of Tremont. It has an old bank vault that you can actually dine in. There's also a valet right in front for your convenience, which is great because street parking can be at a premium. I was excited about Dante because it's the creation of a Michelin star chef, Dante Boccuzzi. It was also recommended by a local friend so I knew it had to be good.
My favorite part, other than what I ate, was that the menu offered three different sizes of pasta to choose from: tasting, appetizer and main. It was awesome because not only was I able to order smaller portions, but I was also able to try two pasta dishes. Both were the best pastas I've had in a very long time. Dare I say, the best pasta I've ever had!
I started with the Linguine alla Carbonara (pictured left), which was served with housemade pancetta and a poached egg. I honestly cannot turn down anything with an egg any style, much less a perfectly poached egg. The linguine was excellent. It was cooked to perfection and served in a light and tasty cream sauce that was rich in flavor. I don't know how one makes a cream sauce "light", but Dante truly achieved what all cream sauces should aspire to be. The pancetta added a nice saltiness and meatiness to the dish. Simple yet satisfying.
I also had to try the black spaghetti (pictured right). I had heard of black spaghetti before, but never actually had it. It's pasta that has been color by squid ink. And of course this black spaghetti was topped with calamari. It was such a contrast to the linguine, but it didn't compete with it at all. It was light and flavorful in its own right. The pasta was also perfectly cooked. The tomatoes added a nice freshness and the calamari was tender.
Let me back up a little bit because I did start dinner off with a cup of soup that is definitely worth mentioning. Also, as I write this, I was just at Dante's a couple of weeks ago and they have already made updates to the menu so there's always something new to try. This time I had the corn chowder soup. They have three different kinds of soups to choose from: puree, chunky and broth. I had the puree and it was delightful. I could taste the corn throughout the dish and it had a few pieces of shrimp thrown in. It was a great start to what would be a great meal. I was able to order a 1/2 serving, but you can also order a full serving if your heart desires.
And of course, I had to end with some dessert. The dessert menu also changes seasonally. I was intrigued by the floral black tea panna cotta served with a pear sorbet. It was beyond good. The panna cotta was smooth and rich. The floral notes from the black tea were present throughout without being over the top. The richness of the panna cotta was balanced out by the tartiness of the pear sorbet. There was also a nice textural contrast between the ice cold sorbet and the custardy panna cotta.
I highly recommend putting Dante's on your bucket list and crossing it off as soon as possible. I absolutely loved that they offer different sizes of pasta, which makes it very conducive to trying more than one thing. It was also fairly reasonable and my bill was less than $30 (sans any alcohol) before tip. I will definitely go back to not only have dinner here again, but to also shop the cute boutiques around the neighborhood. Loved it!