While families gather around their tables this Thanksgiving to discuss all they are thankful for, I write about how thankful I am for Sabatino’s. This Italian Trattoria is located 4 minutes away from campus on 111 West Main Street. While the outside exterior is quite plain, the food is anything but. The traditional cuisine is made mainly from scratch including: meatballs, pastas, and even their mozzarella. Aside from their homemade wonders, the price, for the quality of food, is a steal.
A great place for a fancier night out, I went with my family. I was skeptical walking into the place, since the first scent that hit me was an overwhelmingly smelly fall candle, but my mood soon changed. The decor on the inside is very nice, with a brick oven in the back and a bar to the side. The seating is comfortable and the atmosphere and music is romantic. The servers are attentive and very nice, catering to your needs in a very timely fashion. The history behind Sabatino’s is laid right in front of the diner, since it is located on the menu. This further sense of connection to the family behind the restaurant creates a deeper appreciation for the food. While all of these elements that create a comfortable environment definitely demand a thank you, let’s get to what I’m really thankful for– the food!
The first thing served is complimentary bread with a white bean paste. While I was slightly disappointed there wasn’t a traditional dipping oil, I admired the creative choice to try something different. The paste, while lacking in bold flavors, made up for itself in texture. A perfectly smooth consistency added an even heartier element to the bread. The menu is large and the options seem limitless. It has many seafood options as well as vegetarian options.
To start, I ordered the meatballs. Let me just say, “Hallelujah” to these meatballs. Never have I experienced meat so tender and flavorful. They are melt in your mouth bundles of joy bursting with flavor and warmth. The sauce is extremely light and does not take away from the natural goodness of the meat itself. Next, I tried a bit of everything my family ordered. (Perks of being a self delegating food critic).
Together we had a feast consisting of fried mozzarella, chicken parm, ravioli, beef bolognese, and beef ragu. I give Sabatino’s five stars for balancing their plates. There was always a perfect ratio of meat to pasta to sauce. Not only that, but there was always some form of vegetation on the plate. This brought a refreshing element to them. All of these pastas were cooked perfectly and had their own distinct flavor. The idea that even the pasta itself, and all of the different options of pasta type, was all homemade allowed me to taste the love. This hard work paid off.
My youngest brother, who ordered ravioli plain and simple, might have made one of the smartest decisions. The flavors of the pasta itself shown through and the consistency of the cheese was perfection. While the chicken parm was nothing out of the ordinary, it was still well balanced and hearty. The fried mozzarella was perfectly fried and golden on the outside. The inside was warm and gooey with a substantial “springy” factor. The beef ragu was like a hearty stew on top of a bed of pasta. It’s dark toned broth like sauce, complementing the potatoes and carrots. The beef was so extremely tender and the pasta, while a large type, was not difficult to eat. The star of the show had to be the menus most popular: the beef bolognese. This beef bolognese was bursting with flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth meat and the perfect pairing of pasta. The sauce was a thicker tomato with a hint of sweetness to it.
For dessert we also ordered an arrangement of things. One of the items ordered was a peanut butter chocolate bomba. These desserts are a great, fun option for kids: a chocolate covered ball of ice cream with a peanut butter core inside. The cannolis were not as memorable as I would have liked them to be, but they had a wonderfully sweet marscapone filling with a smooth texture. The only disappointment of the night was the tiramisu. This parfait style dessert was not in it’s traditional form, and the flavors paid the price. Each layer was heavily segregated, causing one bite to be overpowering of espresso and cocoa powder and the next to be a calming cream. While I enjoy bold flavors, this separation was too much. The Nutella crême brulée made up for this parfait faux pas. The crême brulée had a perfectly torched sugar topping that had a beautiful sweetness and crack to it. While this dish was also separated, with the Nutella on the bottom beneath the custard, it worked. The choice to pair the sugar topping with just the custard or just the Nutella or both allowed for a “create your own” flavor adventure.
While prices are a bit much for a college student, it is well worth it. The portions are huge and could easily feed two. The pizza prices are reasonable and range from $9-14. There are daily specials and the pasta portions can be bought half sized for only $10! These great deals on the menu and delicious homemade food make for an incredible experience. This restaurant has definitely left me with a happy tummy and a thankful heart. That’s why this Thanksgiving I’m giving thanks to Sabatino’s.