If anyone is qualified to judge food of the Italian Culture I can proudly say I am that person! Being born and raised in Hoboken, New Jersey the home of “Italian” back on the east coast of the United States I was raised around some of the best restaurants in NY/NJ and was lucky enough to have the best cooks in my family setting down family style dishes for the last 40 years of Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna & the most fantastic Italian homemade desserts. Being from a big Italian family back east I wasn’t sure what to expect here in British Columbia when it came to traditional Italian cooking, but I was surely surprised when I sat down at La Rustica, here in New Westminster.
La Rustica once was the home of Mr. & Mrs. Charles Welsh back in the late 1800’s, they owned a few grocery stores throughout the Lower Mainland. La Rustica & La Spaghetteria’s owner is the brainchild of Salvatore Fancello these two fantastic establishments sit side by side on the busy 6th Street in New West. La Rustica does offer a full wine list and has a wonderful old world charm on the inside. They are only open for dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Our waiter Roberto was absolutely AMAZING. He made us feel like we were Tony Soprano sitting at our table, this man has been in the business for many years and was a true professional with his white glove service. We could have talked to him all night and really appreciated his hospitality. We’d go back just to sit at one of his tables, he captured our attention on this one visit to want to return.
Of course like any good Italian Restaurant they served us hot Focaccia bread which was oh so good. We started out with an appetizer of Insalata Caprese – Slices of fresh tomatoes and velvety bocconcini cheese drizzled with balsamic cream for $9.95. The tomatoes were so tender they melted in your mouth without even needing a knife to cut them. I had the Tortellini Alla Panna – Veal stuffed pasta in crispy panchetta, peas, mascarpone cream and cheese sauce for $16.95 which was so good I soped up all the remaining sauce with another basket of bread they were so generous to bring to the table. My dining partner had the Linguini Con Gamberi – Tiger prawns and broccoli tips sauteed in olive oil, fresh garlic chipotle pesto for 18.95. Again another delicious dish.
We ended our meal with the ever so popular St. Honore Cake – A classic French dessert of puff pastry, cream puffs and fresh cream – for $6.95. Bite by bite is a little slice of heaven in each fork full, the cake was so fresh and delicious. A great place for a date it was a very romantic setting all the way around. You can view their website at www.larustica.ca. Someone at nearby table ordered the Osso Bucco Di Angello – Lamb shank braised in borolo wine and veal stock for 4 hours on potato & seasonal vegetables for $24.95 and it looked fantastic.
Written by Michael Monteforte