Sherman's Food Adventures: Artusi

Artusi

Here we go with yet another restaurant in the burbs.  This time around Grace and I ventured out to New West for some Italian eats at the newly-opened Artusi on 6th Street.  If you are thinking that I've been eating a lot of Italian food lately, you would be correct.  This hasn't been intentional, although I do in fact love Italian food, rather there are just a coincidental amount of new Italian restaurants opening up lately.  What makes it even more interesting is that most of them have been out of the city of Vancouver itself.  That makes me happy because the burbs deserve good food too!

After some complimentary bread, we got going with some appetizers including the Bagna Cauda featuring an array of fresh veggies, bread and the dip consisting of EVOO, anchovy and roasted garlic.  If I had to compare to the one I had at Savio Volpe, this was actually saltier and fishier.  For me, I enjoyed the pronounced flavours especially when paired with the plain veggies and bread.  However, it was not subjected to the amount of emulsion like the one at Savio Volpe, which meant it was greasier and the flavours needed to be mixed around for full effect.  Next up was the Vitel Tonne (aka Vitello Tonnato, that featured thicker-than-usual slices of medium veal.  This meant that the meat ate much more robust with extra body.  Since the veal was prepared perfectly, it remained tender and moist.  On top, the tuna caper sauce was creamy, salty and fishy (in a good way).

Onto our pastas, we tried the Tagliatelle alla Papalina first and sadly, it was our least favourite item of our meal.  It consisted of prosciutto crudo, free range egg cream and 24 month-aged Parmigiano, which sounded great on paper.  In practice, the pasta was overdone and the "sauce" was far too heavy and goopy.  The pasta could've done with half the amount of moisture (that probably helped it overcook too).  We couldn't even get through 1/4th of it.  On a positive note, it did taste good though with the nuttiness of the aged parm.  We much preferred the Pici al Chinghiale sporting wild board and pecorino.  Unlike the tagliatelle, the pici was al dente and did not soften from the ragu.  It was creamy and rich, but the addition of tomato helped cut the heaviness.  The ample morsels of boar was tender and gave the pasta an appealing meatiness.

Our favourite pasta of the night was the Calamarata Profumo di Mare with squid, clams, prawns, peppers, tomato and wine.  First of all, the pasta was firmly al dente and was the perfect vessel to hold onto the tangy and seafoody tomato sauce.  About that seafood, it was prepared just right without being overdone.  We probably liked this the most because it was not as heavy as the previous 2 offerings.  Onto dessert, we had the Tiramisu al Limon which essentially replaced the espresso with limoncello and added lemon to the marscapone.  The result was a tangy and refreshing version of a tiramisu.  I thought the thick marscapone did its best impression of a lemon cheesecake while the soaked ladyfingers were a bit too wet.  If they lessened the limoncello, this would've been perfect.  Overall, the food at Artusi was decent especially taking into account its location.  Give it some time and we hope to see some improvements.

The Good:
- Okay pricing
- Friendly service
- Some twists with menu items

The Bad:
- Some refinement is needed

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