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Mar 26, 2011 07:27 PM

Trattoria Rustica- Worst meal ever?

My wife's words, not mine. I didn't think it was THAT bad. Very nice vibe inside: quiet, softly lit, comfortable. And unlike some other posters here, we had very good service. Our waitress even brought me three samples of red wine to try when I was ordering a glass. She was attentive, never intrusive, knowledgable.

But the food, frankly, was not good. We'd heard about the restaurant for five years--that it was the best high-end italian in Berkshire county--and finally got around to going. Can't say i wasn't warned after reading the very mixed reviews here, When it was over, we'd spent $125 for two plus tip (skipping dessert and coffee because by then we felt thoroughly scammed). here's what we found.

Ingredients seemed fresh enough, everything looked okay but there was not enough care taken in preparation. We got several specials starting with a cauliflower soup and an order of ravioli. The soup had not been sufficiently pureed. It was like paste, though the truffle oil on top helped the flavor. The ravioli was about a minute and a half short of al dente--in other words, not cooked enough. Our wines were absolutely fine. My wife had swordfish on a bed of arugula, cooked much the way I make it at home, except their cut was about 1/2 an inch thick and Ours at home are close to an inch thick. At a top Italian place, and for $28, I expect it to be thicker. But it wasn't dried out and the flavor was pretty good. My wild boar in a ragu on pasta -- first of all, I'd like to know if it's REALLY boar. I have my doubts. Seemed a lot like pork, but who knows? One thing I do know is, no red sauce should be watery as this one was. Not good. I kept tipping my plate in disbelief and watching the water collect. Broccoli rabe side was okay.

As my wife said, at $70 maybe you overlook the sloppy cooking. Not at $125. Not when, as she said, you think about what else you might do with that money.

There's no pleasure in writing a bad review. People are working for a living. On the other hand, we work too. Maybe it was the chef's night off (this was a Saturday). We really wanted to like it, wanted a go-to Italian here, where we now live. This isn't it.

I decided to post this because other people's reviews on Chow have been so helpful. We discovered La Fogata and Cafe Reva in Pittsfield right here, as well as one of my all time favorite places, Au Pied du Cochon in Montreal. On the positive side, we've had consistently good and fairly priced meals at Chez Nous, Rouge, Old Inn on the Green, the Old Mill. We like Fin in Lenox, Great Barrington Bagel Co., pizza and salads at Baba Louie's, pizza at Hot Tomatoes, the baked goods at Gould Farm, ice cream at SoCo and (usually) the hot chocolate at Chocolate Springs in Lenox. But tonight was not good value.

Thanks to everyone here for many helpful reviews over the years.

The bread, which some people have mentioned here, was okay. Nothing to go out of your way for.

Cafe Reva
238 Tyler St, Pittsfield, MA 01201

Old Mill
RR 23, South Egremont, MA 01258

Trattoria Rustica
75 North St Ste 100, Pittsfield, MA 01201

Chez Nous
150 Main St, Lee, MA 01238

Chocolate Springs Cafe
55 Pittsfield Rd Ste 3, Lenox, MA 01240

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  1. sad. I've had some very good and some mediocre meals there.

    1. Sorry you had such a bad experience there, It is such a bummer when you have high expectations that don't pan out. The money doesn't help either.
      When Trattoria first opened it was the best place in the Berkshires imo. We would take our parents every year when they visited.
      The third year was a huge red flag. They took ALL the chicken off the menu. cornish hen, chicken under the brick, everything.
      We actually paid for our wine and bread and left without eating.

      I went back once after that for a birthday dinner and some things were good and some were ok and some were not good at all.
      I haven't gone back and probably won't.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cowgirlinthesand

        Magiesmom, we had two different couples, both good friends, who've said they loved it. Not sure when they were last there. Maybe we hit a bad night, but it felt kind of tired, as sometimes happens w/good restaurants. We won't be back. It's a bummer all the way around.

        Cowgirl, your posts have been among the most helpful over the years in Berkshire County--you have great taste!

      2. I don't know that I would say worst meal ever, but have been there twice and disappointed both times. I don't think the food was actually bad, but not anywhere near what you would expect for the price. Some of it felt like you could make at home which is not always a bad thing in the right atmosphere but not with the upscale impression they are trying to convey. I wouldn't go back (unless someone else is paying).

        I guess the Berkshires aren't the best for italian, is there anything that's good that I'm missing? Thought Cafe Lucia was pretty good not great (except for the osso bucco which was great), Mazzeo's and Frankies are decent enough but not really destination type places.

        Cafe Lucia
        80 Church St., Lenox, MA 01240

        2 Replies
        1. re: nfnebwiri

          One of my complaints about dining in the Berkshires, with the exception of a handful of restaurants, is that most of the food I can cook at home just as well or better. I have not been to Trattoria Rustica in about 2 years now, the last time we went it was fairly good but not memorable.

          Trattoria Rustica
          75 North St Ste 100, Pittsfield, MA 01201

          1. re: nfnebwiri

            I've been to Trattoria twice too and was disappointed both times. The food wasn't awful, but was no where near great. The first time was soon after they had opened, and I thought the Italian meals I'd had in the North End in Boston the week before might have made me too picky for a Pittsfield eatery, so we did go back once more, quite a while later. That meal was too expensive and insipid. Haven't been there recently.
            As far as I'm concerned, there is no decent Italian restaurant in the Berkshires. Capital region, maybe.