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Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Lit Italian Wine Bar - Forza Litalia

Lit Italian Wine Bar simultaneously represents two important and timely concepts within Edmonton's dining landscape: downtown dining (particularly the supernova of 104 street) and wine bars (a merciful alternative to the pub scene, though spots like Red Star and Next Act challenge this notion). I venture into Lit's intimate dining room, which is dressed in primary colours and washed with natural light.

The menu is a mini essay, for each item possesses a detailed explanation of the ingredients therein. Wine suggestions, in addition, accompany each dish - a boon for neophyte oenophiles.

We opt to share and tuck into the Piatto Antipasti and Stuzzichini.  The former is an array of cured Italian meats, like salami and cappocollo, pickled veg, and cheeses that include chevre and provolone. Piquant, salty-sweet and toothsome. Stuzzichini (pictured below) is a sampling of hot nibbles: calamari, arancini, bruschetta and bocconcini wrapped in proscuitto. The calamari are a welcome change from the usual deep-fried rings. Lit's calamari showcases slices of squid, attractively hatched and lightly fried. The arancini, which are deep-fried rice balls, are an amenable intersection of crisp and tender, but require yet a bit more salt to coax out the rice's understated essence. Bruschetta is appropriately crisp with a vibrant crown of tomatoes. The bocconcini-proscuitto roles are Stuzzichini's clear victor - a happy marriage of meat and dairy.

We progress to gnocchi and carpaccio which, regrettably, veer from the enjoyable path we've experienced thus far. The gnocchi, while the mushroom sauce is creamy and earthy, are a bit doughy and truffle oil adds an unpleasant, overpowering note to the carpaccio.

Dessert is sweet redemption. Ferrero Rocher Tart (pictured above) recapitulates the creamy cocoa-hazelnut essence of these wildly popular chocolates. Chiocolatto (pictured below) presents two pieces of house-made chocolate cake (which, in texture, are more like brownies but that is splitting hairs) with scoops of vanilla and strawberry ice cream. Here is a warm-meets-cold party of chocolate and dairy that begs for another and yet another forkful. I will return, if not for proscuitto-wrapped bocconcini, then for chiocolatto.

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