Please note that La Soffitta has a new chef for the 2017 season, Salvatore Della Torre. We’re looking forward to dining there soon, and enjoying another amazing Italian meal.
Walk up the stairs to La Soffitta restaurant in Vineyard Haven, and you’re immediately in a space that is both cozy and sophisticated. Whether you sit in the dining room, enjoy a glass of wine in the lounge area or sit at the bar (my favorite spot here), you’re going to be amazed by the experience.
Starting off, we were greeted by Pietro, a friend of the new chef of La Soffitta, Massimo Fardetti, from the old country — yes, Italy. There is something so wonderful about having your waiter say “prego” (you’re welcome in Italian) when ordering. Just listening to him describe dishes makes you feel like you’re someplace else, not Main Street Vineyard Haven.
With the music playing, the sound of Italian being spoken, and heavenly smells coming from the kitchen, the scene is set for a night of Italian culinary treats.
When you are first seated, forget about boring ole bread and butter, you are greeted with a lovely, fresh bruschetta, piled high with tomatoes, flavorful but light. A tease of what’s to come.
The menu has so many delicious options, unlike any other menu on the Island.
Luckily, there were three of us at dinner, so we could try a number of things. We started with Peitro’s recommendation of the Burrata & Fichi, prosciutto di parma, burrata, figs and a balsamic glaze.
The fresh creaminess of the Burrata and the sweetness of the figs and the saltiness of the prosciutto were a perfect combination with the balsamic glaze. The presentation was beautiful too.
We also had the Beef Carpaccio. There is not a better place to have this dish than in a restaurant with a true Italian chef. Such a simple dish, thinly sliced beef, covered in arugula with lemon, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, yet one so flavorful and satisfying.
I have to interject with wine. My dinner dates, Wendy Harman and Win Baker (my Point B bosses), have travelled to Italy. There, they enjoyed a wine from Umbria, Azienda Agrai Di Filippo Montefalco Sagrantino, which I could not even come close to pronouncing.
A rare find in America, but so popular there. This red wine was on the menu, and they could not have been more excited. The Sagrantino paired with such delicious food, made for an even more special night.
As we sat at the corner of the bar, we narrowed it down to four choices, and then carefully down to three. We almost got a fourth, just because.
Wendy decided on Strozapretti ($35). This dish is from Massimo’s family, a dish he grew up with as a child, living by the Italian coast. Strozapretti has crab, lobster and shrimp, all tossed in a creamy red sauce, over pasta.
I should mention that all the pasta is housemade at La Soffitta. This is not your grocery store, garden variety of pasta. It is fresh and sort of melts in your mouth. Why does fresh pasta have to be so good, and why can’t I have it everyday!
Win got Pietro’s favorite dish, the House Made Pappardelle ($35), Tuscan-style, with organic veal Ragu. Now typically I do not eat veal, but when in Rome….. The dish was really, really good. The menu has Allen Farm lamb, but this was a special for the evening.
For me, I opted for the Butternut Squash Gnocchi, house made of course, with braised leeks, and a creamy gorgonzola sauce that I could die for. I loved this dish. It was so much lighter than other dishes I’ve had that are similar.
This, I would get again. I don’t even think I shared any with Win and Wendy. Though I definitely tried theirs. I don’t share food well, if I love it.
What a fun, inspired chef he was, chatting with us about life in Italy, what he’s been up to in the states, sharing food stories with us. It was great. We laughed and drank and savored the whole experience.
Just when I thought we could do no more, between all the wine and food, dessert appeared. Of course, a beautiful, traditional Panna Cotta with fresh berry coulis was on the menu. It too was lovely, the right consistency (which can be tricky) paired with wonderful fruit. Somehow we found room for this bad boy.
La Soffitta offers a unique dining experience, a nod to true Italian cuisine. Not the American way, which is so often full of basil and oregano, but food crafted with fresh ingredients, well paired. You can taste what is in the food, the lobster, the veal, the gorgonzola. It’s the best way to experience Italian food.
If you haven’t been, you’re in luck. La Soffitta will be open through mid-November. The menu is updated weekly, so you can go back again and again. Also exciting is that chef Massimo is using a number of ingredients from Allen Farm and Grey Barn, fresh and local is always a good thing.
The restaurant is open Wednesday thru Sunday, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (remember this when going to see a show at Vineyard Playhouse, right around the corner).
You may be wondering when La Soffitta reopened this year. It was in August, late in the season, but owners, Susan and Stephen Bowen, wanted things to be just right. There were changes to the decor, the wine list, and of course, a new chef. So much better to open with everything great, than open without.