TRATTORIA MILANO – BYOB
In a recent post on Chowhound, someone asked if there were any good BYOB’s on the “northern fringes” of Philadelphia. My wine drinking friends, Gerry and John, led me on an excursion tonight to Telford, PA which is an area that has to be regarded as the “northern fringes” of somewhere, if not Philadelphia, then maybe it’s the “northern fringes” of Montana. Geographically, I have no idea where we were but I do know this, Trattoria Milano is worth the search and the drive. From the moment we entered and were greeted with the aroma of sweet Italian sauces we all knew our appetites were about to be rewarded.
We had brought some great wines with us and usually, by the end of the evening, one or two stand out as clearly the WOTN (wine of the night). This was not the case this evening as all five had qualities that made them favorites. First up, we had the Clark-Claudon 2005 3 Stones, Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s well-balanced and chock full of those great Howell Mountain Cab grapes with a touch of Merlot and Cab Franc to give it that rich texture and smooth finish. Next, was the 2006 Bacio Divino Cellars “Vagabond”. This one is a blend of 67% Syrah and 30 % Cabernet that garnered 91 points from Mr. Parker. It wasn’t bashful and was a fine partner with the rich sauces we were devouring. John G. made sure that France was represented with a delicious 2003 E. Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape. You can never go wrong with anything from E. Guigal, excellent wines that are true representatives of their appellation without breaking your wine budget. This one had a gorgeous floral bouquet and licorice notes, an enticing old-world blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. The 2005 Franciscan “Magnificat” is a strong 92 point meritage blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cab Franc. Lots of plums and cherries folded in dark chocolate and smooth as a baby’s butt. I searched through my growing wine stash and found a 2001 Byron “IO”, Santa Barbara County (thats the letters I and O, not the number 10). This was a wine that Gerry and John raved about several years ago and one of the first Rhone-style wines to come out of Santa Barbara County. It is still considered one of the best PA State Store Chairman’s Selections as it was a $50.00 wine selling at the time for $14.99! And now for the food.
Triana and Diana are two sisters from Ecuador. Triana, a first class server whose welcoming demeanor puts diners at ease and Diana, who is married to the Chef/Owner, Francesco, both do a terrific job. Triana brought us some warm bread and a yummy garlic and oil blend that was a delicious starter. We ordered 3 appetizers for our table and all of them were enjoyable. We had the Mozzarella Fritta, the Caprese and some Bruschetta.
Each of these items was tangy and flavorful and did nothing to spoil our appetite for the enticing entrees we were contemplating. The menu includes pasta, chicken, veal and fish dishes that all sound inviting and it was no small feat to settle on just one.
John decided on the Pasta Ai Frutti di Mare, a tempting dish of clams, mussels, shrimps, scallops and calamari. The dish came with a side salad and John disappeared from the conversation for about 20 minutes as he savored his fruits of the seas between sips of the nectar of the Gods.
Gerry, who had been here on other occasions chose the Vitello Ripieno Alla Valdostana, veal stuffed with ham and fontina cheese in a white wine sauce with artichokes and mushrooms. He was nowhere near as quiet as John as he voiced effusive praise after each forkful of this tasty entree. His veal came with a side of pasta.
I finally decided on the Pollo Alla Fiorentina, chicken breast in a creamy sauce topped with spinach and provolone cheese. The chicken was cooked perfectly, the spinach was excellent and the sauce was the highlight of a great dish. Each bite was a wonderful taste treat. The pasta was really good as well, and all three of us were very impressed with just about everything at Trattoria Milano.
Left to right, the temptations pictured above are the Homemade Tiramisu, the Chocolate Truffle Torte and the Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake. All of them were delicious although, my choice of the chocolate tort was a bit too heavy and I think the Tiramisu or cheesecake would have been a better choice
Chef Francesco, a native of Milan, Italy deserves recognition for the great meals he turns out of his kitchen here in the hinterlands of Philly’s northern burbs. This was Gerry’s choice and he certainly picked a great spot. I can’t tell you I will be here often as it is a long way from South Jersey but I would say that if you are anywhere within reasonable distance of 4 North Allentown Rd in Tylersport, PA, and have a sudden craving for exceptionally good Italian food, a visit to Trattoria Milano may be just what will work for you.