48 Dante St. at St Dominique St.
Cost $ 129.00 ( for 2 not including tip)
Chef Hats: 4.5
Stefano Faita has become a real household name. You can see his caricature all over IGA flyers these days and on television both on English and French television. He has come a long way from his humble beginnings in Little Italy when his family owned Quincaillerie Dante. I remember going to the shop with my parents when I was a kid to purchase the latest in kitchen equipment or hunting rifles. His mom Elena, a pleasant Italian lady who manned the kitchen section of the store later opened Mezzaluna cooking school and was even an inspiration and influence to Martin Picard of” Au Pied du Cochon “. Stefano Faita is a chip off the old block and more. So one can only expect the best.
In July 2013, Stefano teamed up with Michele Forgione former chef of Osteria Venti to open a new Italian eatery on Dante St. called Impasto. For the last year I have heard many people marvel about how fantastic Impasto was and I decided to give it a try exactly one year later.
.Impasto is not fancy but casual and not overly expensive either. The décor comes courtesy of designer Zébulon Perron who has designed some pretty hip restaurants in Montreal like Grinder, Hachoir and Lustucru and many more. You can check out his website at www.zebulonperron.com.
The interior of this little Italy restaurant is spotlessly white and all done in tile walls, beam ceilings and bare marble white tables. It is long and narrow and has an open kitchen where you can watch Forgione spin his creative dishes. The restaurant only seats maybe 30 plus people, and is located across the street from the Quancaillerie and across the street from his other new pizzeria called GEMA, which just opened last month. We should rename this area of the street the Faita Corner and change the Ville de Montreal logo on the street sign with a picture of Stefano caricature, like on the IGA ads. I could see this only happening in Little Italy. Wouldn’t it be funny…I am all for it! Pardon me, my mischievous side is surfacing.
The ambiance at Impasto is fun and intoxicating and very ‘casalinga’’ at home, especially when Stefano walks into the room and flashes his big smile and comes to your table to ask how you are enjoying your meal. It feels like you are in his own home and you are. Nothing at Impasto is excessive, the menu contains only, six starters and eight main dishes and four desserts. Do not expect huge portions, but only top quality fresh local market ingredients (Jean Talon Market is right down the street) and perfectly prepared. .
The staff which mainly consists of men on this evening is professional and very serious about their jobs. Tonight we got the sweetest Latina waitress, the only female amid all the testosterone. She had the gentlest demeanor and the sweetest voice and disposition. She was really attentive and careful, she kept refilling our break basket numerous times and pouring our wine and San Pellegrino every once in a while. Handsome Mr. Malibu and Charismatic Don Fanuccio blessed us with their presence and came to dine with us. They also had heard the rave reviews about Impasto and wanted to give it a shot. A word or two about these two guys, they like charming the pants off anyone! So it turned out to be quite an exciting evening of chit chat, stories and keeping our waitress entertained and lots of flirting. It continued into the wee hours of the morning on Prince Arthur St. while visiting the Sicilian Prince of the Night at his boite noire. Surreal! I felt I was on the set of Goodfellas movie.
Meanwhile back at Impasto we started off the meal with the usual a bottle of San Pellegrino and a bottle Chianti Reserva to be shared amongst us four. Figured we can’t go wrong with a wine from Toscana, we were having Italian food.
For the Primi piatti (entrées) I ordered a Carpaccio di Manzo to be shared with Frenchie, this is my favorite and I can’t get enough of it. It has got to be the carnivore in me. It came in a large square plat with bright red perfectly sliced thin slices of beef, topped with good olive oil, parmesan shavings and olives and a garnish of greens and just the right seasoning. I enjoyed this with lots of fresh bread from Le Pain dans les Voiles located nearby, the bread is decadent and if ever in the Jean Talon Market area a must try.
Mr Malibu & the Don ordered the chop block with charcuterie. Generous amounts of mortadella, pate de foie and duck prosciutto and porcetta head cheese and a side dish of green cerignola olives. The portion was big and we ended up sharing with them. All the coldcuts are made in house except for the duck prosciutto, very melt in your mouth fresh. We totally enjoyed it all the while still chatting up a storm, smacking our lips and teasing the waitress.
For the Secondi, the most part of us except for the Don, decided to go with the homemade pasta; all pasta is also made in house and it completely fresh and delicious. I went with a full plate of ricotta gnocchi; even a full plate was not huge but satisfying and filling. What I liked about these gnocchi was the lightness of them. Not heavy at all, light pockets of soft dough made with ricotta cheese and lightly smothered in a delicate marinara sauce. The pasta was really fresh and I did not feel bloated or sick after having devoured them and I am lactose intolerant. I really appreciated them here.
Frenchie ordered a full plate of Pasta Casarecce, homemade gemelli pasta, sautéed in garlic oil with pieces of pork sausages, removed from it casings and topped with grated parmesan . He really enjoyed the full flavor of the garlic . The pork meat was spiced with fennel seeds which added an over the top factor when it came to the pairing spices with certain food. Frenchie thought it original and had eaten them this way for the first time.
Mr. Malibu ordered Corone di Gallo Pasta, difficult to describe and new to me. Tubular pasta with a frill on one side, resembling the crown of rooster best describes it. This dish was topped with rapini and pork sausage. Mr. Malibu said it reminded him of the way his mom used to make it and it had the same flavor. Absolutely delicious.
Don Fanuccio had the roast pork, which was amazing. A large slab of roast pork not dry and in a little of its own jus, it was perfectly flavored with enough garlic but not overpowering. Tender and juicy, you really tasted the flavour of the Gaspor pork and it came topped with a sweet poached pear and a side order of broccolini. They must have been having a sale at the Market this weekend on Rapini and Broccolini.
For dessert Frenchie and I had the semifreddo –an ice cream on piece of sponge cake with raspberry fruit syrup topping and I had the pan cotta- in a mini mason jar, creamy mascarpone with maple syrup on top both dessert very good and complimentary to the completion of the meal with 4 coffee all around.