Monday, March 7, 2016

Trattoria Giuseppe

5442 Old Missouri 21
Imperial, MO 63052

On the web


Happy Birthday Angel!
Well, actually the day after her birthday. . . just the way we do things.
Obviously, she chose the destination, hardly a surprise. In the many years of doing this silly effort, reviewing local eateries, TG has always been our #1 favorite.
It's a little high end, a little pricey, but worth every penny whenever you can budget for it.
The Place:
A bizarre location really,very much out of the way. Old Highway 21 is completely bypassed by
'new' highway 21. New 21 is four lanes, no stops, more like a 20 mile stretch of interstate than a highway.
Old 21 is where things used to be. It is rural, rustic, more Route 66 than anything else. Near Highway M, also a wide and clear beauty, TG sits in a rural, somewhat industrial area. It shares a building, an old fashioned strip mall, with a bar and an auto parts store and not far from a salvage yard and concrete business.
From the outside, no pretense or prettying up. Inside, the charm of the old building has been tidied up, but not covered over. Striped wallpaper, nice colors and textures, wood tables and chairs, modest table cloths and place settings. A little art on the walls, subtle lighting. Nice, but not presumptuous or fancy. The dress code is also casual, however, men's shirts must have sleeves. I was good in a polo, clean jeans and sneakers, the group nearby chose what I can only describe as church clothes, if that's still a thing. Slacks, button down shirts (with sleeves) and the ladies in slacks or dresses. TG is a place that accommodates both.
The Food:
Minta stopped by with menus, more on her name later. A fresh, smiling young lady. We ordered drinks, Angel made it complicated. "Do you have sweet tea?" Minta apologized and said no. "Okay, I'll have tea, but with only very little ice."
"Okay." Minta answered and scribbled on her pad. Adam and I looked over at Angel. "I'm cold." was all the explanation she felt necessary to offer.
I looked up at Minta. "I'll have tea, but I'm not nearly as demanding."
Adam ordered a pop. Angel piped in before the server could walk away. "Could we have the ravioli appetizer too please?"
Of course she could.
On the table was a fresh basket of bread. Nearby there was a cruet of olive oil. In front of each of us was a small saucer.
Here's the way do handle that stuff. Sprinkle some oil into the saucer and toss on a dash of pepper, Tear off a bite of bread and dip. Mmmm, luscious.
Before long the drinks were served. TG is among the few places we've been to that actually seems to care that the tea is as fresh and proper as the rest of the meal. Sure enough, it was bright and fresh.
By then we were ready to order. Angel decided on the meal she'd been thinking about for a couple of days, Tutto Mare, a seafood/pasta dish that she gets nearly every time we dine at TG's.
I went out on a limb and ordered the day's special, a seafood stuffed filet. Adam chose a repeat as well, the Pepper Loin Filet. We all asked for the salad, because the house salad at TG is a work of art.
The ravioli was served, light and crispy, the sauce, impeccable. We happily munched away on the St. Louis favorite appetizer, before long the salads arrived.
The house salad has lettuce, of course, but it also contains a few cherry tomatoes, red onion, some 'authentic' olives, note those bright green, pimento stuffed things you get in a jar at the store. Also, a pepper and always, a bit of artichoke heart. The vinaigrette is slightly sweet, but definitely Mediterranean. Slivers of white cheese top it off.  This is about as good as it gets for Mediterranean salad in the area. Since we've been coming here, the salad does not change, the same attention to detail every time.
It was early in the day so the place was not yet crowded. This meant that the kitchen would not be rushed taking care of our order. It also meant we didn't need a reservation, though if you're planning a visit, it would be smart to go ahead and make one.
In not too long the food arrived on a big tray. My eyes popped wide when I saw my steak. It was a thing of sheer beauty. A perfectly cooked steak, split open and stuffed with what I can best describe as crab cake. Surf and turf turned up to eleven.
There was also a baked potato wrapped in foil. That was an afterthought really. I'd already carbed up on bread and ravioli, but from the list of 'sides' it seemed the most appealing. I wouldn't eat it all.
I sliced into the steak, it carved like butter. The light, buttery sauce around the meat was a beautiful compliment.  Steak is hard to get right. I've never considered myself very good at cooking steak. I do know this though, it all starts and ends with the cut and quality of the meat. Even exactly correct done-ness cannot fix an inferior cut. Giuseppe always gets this right though.
The first bite was simply amazing. It snapped me out of the anxious fog I'd been in most of the day. The cut, perfect, the cooking, perfect, the addition of crab-cakey filling? Oh man, it does not get better.
Adam launched into his steak with vigor, it didn't last long. Angel plucked out and dissected the clams and snails and whatever else they put into that plate. I'm not a clam or oyster guy and can't be bothered with the difference between them or the varieties within. Angel likes the stuff, though so that's okay. She did have some of the pasta, but mostly it was hunt and pick.
I delighted in every bite, I hope they offer it again.
Summary:
As always, a wonderful experience. Minta was up to her tasks. Oh yeah, I asked her about her name as it seemed a bit unusual. When I asked she took on a look that indicated that I was not the first person to ask her. She explained though, it was not short for something or part of a longer name. Minta, that's it. "It's made up, it doesn't mean anything."
I thought that was just fine.
The food, you may have gathered was splendid, awesome, I'm running out of superlatives here. We all enjoy  it, everything we've tried. Giuseppe runs a good ship as well. The staff is always professional and attentive, the attention to detail and service are always superb.
The price? Well, it's certainly not discount food. This is not a place many of us can afford to frequent. That in our case is also what makes it special. It's not that much more than a similar meal at Ruby Tuesday's or the other places like that. Those other places end up costing about $22 each, TG, more like $28.
It's not a question of will we go back or can we recommend. Of course we will and do. It's actually stronger than that. I'm willing to shout it to the masses. Try this place!


Trattoria Giuseppe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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