18 May, 2009
Restaurant Review–Piazza Italia, Brightleaf Square, DurhamPosted in : Dining in Durham - NC, Restaurants on by : The Gourmez
Drum roll, please…this is my 40th restaurant review! Yippee! Thanks, Triangle, for having so many awesome places to dine at!
905 West Main Street, Suite 18A
Brightleaf Square, Durham
Piazza Italia is a combination of two restaurants and one gelato counter. Per their website, there is also a market but I did not come across it. We ate in the Piazza Italia portion, which had a warm, rustic feel with mild orange walls and attractive wooden supports. Down the brightly painted corridor that evokes an Italian piazza, of course, you find the gelato counter and Piazza di Mare, the lovely, white and cream room where their seafood-focused menu is offered.
The provincial rooster artwork in the Piazza Italia section added a sense of merriment and I quite enjoyed the Italian scenery that played on a projector screen. What can I say? I’m a tourist at heart.
The offered pre-meal bread was a bit too dense for my liking and I would have preferred a garlic fork to help pull out the roasted cloves from the head but I’m probably just spoiled from having one at the Italian restaurant I used to work at in Boston. We also started with a bruschetta special that was fantastic. The balsamic glaze was mild and somehow, in a feat I have never before seen, the toppings stayed on the bread throughout the journey to my mouth. I enjoyed gobbling the simple lettuce and shaved parmesan salad in the middle of the plate as well.
Speaking of plates, the ones serving our entrees were quite fun, with different geometric shapes sunk into the china. I opted to make my own pasta dish, matching fettuccine with a gorgonzola cream sauce and sautéed vegetables. The noodles were top notch and I am discovering more and more often that freshly made noodles really make a difference. The sauce was good but felt more like a plain alfredo as I could not detect the gorgonzola at all. The vegetables, a selection of julienned peppers and squash, were not worth the extra $3 to add them to the dish. Overall, the dish was about average, though the noodles were quite good.
My sister had the Mezzaluna de Pesce and it was a far superior selection with crab and salmon-stuffed ravioli, apple slices and ginger served in a cream sauce with champagne and lobster mixed in.
We headed down to the gelato counter for dessert, though our waiter did offer to bring us samples to the table, which I thought was quite nice. One small scoop was plenty to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Piazza Italia is a charming restaurant that I will look forward to trying again. Perhaps the seafood menu next time?