Merriam-Webster defines the word pleasant as "having qualities that tend to give pleasure." Urban Dictionary defines the same term thusly: "a nice way of saying that something is fine provided the lack of options, but if the choice was given, it would not have been the top of the list." The intersection of these two definitions is where we find Terroni, a perfectly pleasant place to enjoy pretty good southern Italian food and a nice glass of wine. Terroni is situated just around the corner from us on Beverly and Curson.
This Canadian import pretty much nails the decor, creating a lovely neighborhood trattoria atmosphere. The cozy and casual interior makes Terroni an ideal spot to take a first date, or enjoy a laid-back dinner with friends.
We started off with the barbabietole, with arugula, beet, goat cheese, pistachios, balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil (below). The salad was competently executed and served its purpose - giving us a lighter dish in preparation for our heavier selections of pizza and pasta. We order beet & goat cheese salads all the time, and very rarely does one ever jump out as something special. Terroni's salad was no exception, although I did appreciate the addition of pistachios, which added a unique flavor profile.
Our otherwise decent meal took a turn for the divine with the arrival of the Prosciutto d’Anatra e Burrata, duck prosciutto, burrata, fresh spinach and extra-virgin olive oil (below). The combination of the rich, fatty, paper-thin slices of duck and the creamy burrata, especially when consumed atop the crunchy batons of hearty bread, made this one of our favorite appetizers in recent memory.
We headed back from the sublime to the satisfactory with the Polentona pizza, topped with tomato, mozzarella, fontina, speck (smoked prosciutto), and pinenuts (below). The crust was a nice texture, thin and flaky, but lacked the char and the seasoning we'd expect from better pies. The ingredients were good quality, but nowhere near as exciting as the combination had appeared on paper.
Equally competent was the Reginette Gorgonzola e Salsiccia, homemade pasta with gorgonzola cheese, Italian sausage and radicchio (below). While neither of us really had any major complaints about this filling dish, the flavors were much more muted than I had expected, with the sausage riding roughshod over the gorgonzola and radicchio.
Rounding off all this was the frittelle di nutella con gelato. These carnival-style fritters were stuffed with oozing warm nutella and served alongside a thick fudge-like gelato. At first, the fritters were chewier than expected, but the rich, creamy interior made the chewing less of a chore. It wasn't long before the tasty, if a little rich, dessert won us over.
The attitude of the waitstaff seemed to walk a fine line between being cold and just indifferent. Busboys seem comfortable skipping small formalities to ask bluntly, 'you done with that?' But our service never lagged and our food always came out right on time. While we were happy to eat things the way they came, Terroni is known for having a strict, if not stubborn, Gjelina-esque no substitution policy wherein when asking for a little balsamic vinegar for your bread or a side of parmesan cheese you may encounter a little resistance. Will we head back here? Sure, it's in the neighborhood. And while it's not spectacular, it is, as I said, very pleasant. Next time we may head straight for the bar for a few glasses of wine and another crack at the duck prosciutto and burrata dish.