By Virginia Miller, Zaggat
June 30, 2014 –
Welcome to Secretly Awesome, a newer column where we explore under-the-radar dishes, drinks and places all around the Bay Area, this week heading to the East Bay island of Alameda:
The Place: You’d be forgiven for being skeptical about finding authentic Italian in an Alameda shopping mall at Trabocco, sandwiched between Trader Joe’s and Applebee’s. We were, too. Until we tasted chef Giuseppe Naccarelli’s cooking, with subtle nods to his hometown of Palombaro in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Naccarelli, who runs the spacious, suburban-chic restaurant with a large outdoor patio with his wife, Christine, comes out and greets guests himself, even during lunch.
The Dish: You’re in good hands with the chef’s pastas and pizzas. On the pizza side, rapini e salsiccia ($15) is savory with spicy sausage and broccoli rabe over bright tomato sauce and supple fior di latte mozzarella, contrasted by doughy-yet-blistered crust cooked in the centerpiece wood-burning oven. On the pasta side, fettuccine noodles ($16) get the Bolognese treatment, tossed in a rosy-red meat ragú. Comfort comes al dente.
Drink Pairing: Despite the plethora of liquors on offer from Alameda great, St. George Spirits, Trabocco’s cocktails ($10) leave something to be desired. An “up” drink comes swimming in ice shards, a no-no in the craft cocktail world, while overall balance and showcasing of the spirit itself is not quite in play. Better to stick with the basics (like a gin and tonic — ask for St. George’s Terroir Gin for an herbal, local focus) or there’s wine on tap from another Alameda neighbor, Rock Wall Wine Company.
Price: Starters, salads and sides run $4-13, pastas, pizzas and entrees $14-35 (the highest price is for a steak).