Sherman's Food Adventures: Piva Modern Italian

Piva Modern Italian

For about 8 years, I called Coquitlam my home.  This was back in the 90's and let's just say the food scene was pretty lame.  As much as I try to encourage people to take the trek out-of-Vancouver for eats, there was a time where the burbs had very little to offer.  Fast forward to the present, times have definitely changed as many have moved out of Vancouver and have brought their food expectations with them.  Hence, we are seeing an increase in not only more authentic cuisine, there is also some style sprinkled in for good measure.  That would best describe the newly opened Priva Modern Italian in New West.

I recently visited the place and it definitely felt more urban and upscale than most of the other restaurants in New West.  We started with a couple of appies including the Meatballs and Arancini.   Although the meatballs didn't look particularly appealing, they ate very well.  Moist and tender, yet still meaty, the wild boar meatballs were the beneficiary of mushrooms mixed into the meat.  Hence, there was plenty of umaminess and aroma.  With that being said, a bit more salt was needed for impact.  However, the morel mushroom cream offered up another layer of woodsiness.   Encased in a lightly and uniformly crispy breading, the arancini balls were really good.  The risotto was a bit soft, but that didn't detract from the ample amount of wild mushrooms.  This created an intense earthiness that was taken a step further by the "just enough" truffle aioli.

For our pizza, we chose the Italian Sausage and Egg consisting of spicy Italian sausage, ricotta, braised garlic, arugula, charred onions and oven-baked egg.  There was a wealth of ingredients sitting atop a razor thin crust.  As such, it had softened up quite a bit despite the proper charring and leoparding.  The real texture of the crust was exemplified by the portions near the edges (and the edge itself).  It was crunchy, chewy and well-salted.  As for the toppings, the whole cloves of braised garlic was intensely flavourful while the creaminess of the ricotta helped balance the slight spiciness of the meaty sausage.

We ended up with 2 pastas beginning with the Fettuccine sporting prawn, scallop, white wine and tomato sauce.  As much as the tomato sauce was pretty straightforward, it was impactful and tasty.  There was enough sweetness to balance off the tang from the tomatoes as well as equal parts garlic, onions and basil.  I found the pasta to be al dente, but just barely.  The best part of the dish had to be the expertly prepared seafood.  The large scallops were buttery and soft with a tender chew.  As for the prawns, they were meaty with a snap.  Our second pasta was the Spaghetti with bolognese consisting of spicy sausage, beef, veal and portobello mushroom.  Naturally, this pasta was more robust due to the plethora of meat.  It was rich and full-of-depth where the layers of meat flavour (including the "meatiness" of the mushroom) really came through.

Hands-down, the best dessert of the 2 we ordered was For Nonna consisting of crispy layers of candied phyllo, cherry compote and vanilla mascapone.   Although messy to eat, the shattered layers of phyllo were crispy (even with all of the moisture) and appealingly sweet with a candy-like coating.  This was balanced by the creamy and thick mascapone as well as the lightly tart and sweet cherries.  The Tiramisu Sundae was no slouch either being essentially a deconstructed tiramisu featuring espresso gelato, masacapone, lady fingers, chocolate orange brittle and ample chocolate drizzled on top.  The best part was the gelato as it was creamy, purposefully sweet and full of espresso flavour.  When eaten with the rest of the components, it did really taste like a tiramisu (except with crunchy lady fingers).  It is a bit ironic that Piva is directly across the street from the Old Spaghetti Factory.  One exemplified New West for decades while Piva represents the future with style and good food.

The Good:
- Upscale and modern
- Execution was pretty spot-on
- Friendly service

The Bad:
- Pasta could've been a bit more al dente for our liking
- We enjoyed the service, but it was a bit sparse at times


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