Piccolo Teatro - Sausalito
Had an visit there last night.............hmmmm, very intereresting...........worthy of another visit but hmmmmmm.
First, although they say they do not take reservations, the person I spoke to on the phone said she would put our name down on the list anyway. She was very nice and that was appreciated. But....I don't know what to expect the next time.
Our first impression upon entering is that it was WAY too bright. Interesting decor but the walls are White-White. A different hue would sure add a bit of warmth. Our table was right near the fireplace however which was kind of nice. It appears that the street-front windows open fully to an street-front patio so it is probably a nice/fun atmosphere in the summer. You should also check out the "MC Escher"-esque tiles at the restroom.
We are constantly thinking that this county is sure over-Italianed but each new locale seems to be different from the last. Piccolo Teatro has an interesting, unique menu based on Venetian style cuisine (according to the staff). Service was professional but personable. Both menu and winelist prices were very reasonable.They charge $2.50 for bread service but the filtered water (both still and w/gas) was free. That seems fair.
The common theme in the dishes we ordered was that all had a good deal of salt. Even the desert had a hint. Not overbearing in most cases but it was definitely noticeable.
For the table we ordered Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/radicchio. The toasted capers, chili flakes and lemon accent was flavorful but but made the dish extremely salty. The brussels sprouts were cooked just to the bite (perfect) and a beautiful bright green but I could have done without the radicchio entirely. The Mozzarella with Eggplant Caponata was homemade.....soft and delicious, but they were initially stingy with the crustini. A simple request brought an ample supply.
The entrees arrived on interesting bowl/plates (interesting enough that we noticed the dishware at all). Initially, the portioned seemed awfully small but ultimately, we felt satiated and did not need any more than was delivered. Spaghetti Braised Pork offered thick spaghetti stands and pork that fell apart with the touch of the fork. Again, interesting accent of salt in preparation but not overwhelming. The squid "Cracklings" were very, very crunchy (but no polenta as mentioned above). The Pasta & Meatballs were exactly that......on very thick strands (thicker than buccatini for ex.). The dish looked unique but the diner claimed the flavor was traditional or usual. Lastly, the Veal Loin Chop with route vegis. was moist and delicate and seasonally appropriate so it hit the spot.
On the other hand, the Chocolate Espuma Torta, Cream, Extra Virgin Olive Oil desert was even tastier than it looked. Concern for the presence of olive oil garnishing a chocolate concoction was alleviated at first bite. There was a slight linger of salt in the crust in the last bite.
Overall, a fun and tasty night. Piccolo Teatro is worthy of a return visit, especially if I am in the neighborhood. But...... I think I will wait until next season's menu appears. There was nothing else on the menu we were dying to try and nothing that we had that I feel pressed that I have to have again. This, given all the other outstanding options in Marin for Italian dining.
Been reading some pretty good reviews about this place so I thought I'd check it out a few times and see how it was.
Here's my take; Very nice, comfortable design inside with outdoor seating available.
Staff was very good to above average.
They do not have a large menu, but what they offer as different menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner is a good cross section of dishes influenced by Venetian cuisine.
Only once did I have a complaint and that was with the calamari on polenta. After saying something to the server, the chef came to my table and took a real interest in what I had to say. A few days later, some friends from Italy were visiting and we went to Piccolo Teatro for dinner and one of them ordered the calamari and I found that the chef had improved the preparation like he said he was going to do. What a change; someone who actually listens to criticism! My friends liked the place and gave compliments to me for bringing them there.
It's priced right and I even had enough money left to make it back over the bridge:)
Good wine list and selection of beers that are moderately priced. Wines are mostly Italian, with a representation of California. They don't charge a corkage fee if you bring your own and there's a good wine shop a few doors down if you're into a larger selection of California wines.
It can border on being a little noisy when full, but I like the sound of people having a good time, so it didn't bother me.
Seems to be children friendly, but I can't say that I saw that many children at the times that I was there.
Overall I'd say it's a great place to visit and an easy commute by bike, car or ferry, since it's right in the heart of Sausalito.
Nice place and I'll be back.