quinto quarto at its best :: 10/10 :: €50 for all you could ever want
"Quinto quarto", which means the "fifth quarter", is the offal of butchered animals. This tradition comes from Rome. Until modern day, the division of meat in Rome was made in the following way: the first "quarto" was sold to the rich nobles, the second for the clergy, the third for the Bourgeoisie and the fourth "quarto" was for the soldiers. The lowest class proletariat could afford only the entrails, the "quinto quarto".
Diego Rossi, with an impressive CV which includes stints Michelin-starred restaurants such as St. Hubertus and Locanda Margon, decided to open Trattoria Trippa to pay tribute to the traditional no frills way of cooking in Italy. He wanted to put more emphasis on the delicious but often discarded parts of meat and fis.
I first met Diego Rossi at 1930 cocktail bar in Milano. I knew Diego had come up with their latest recipe for the Tartare burger with asinello (donkey) meat but I didn't know much more than that. That evening, Diego told me what Trippa was all about, and I was excited to stop by to try his reinvented Old School approach to cooking. Although it took me a while to finally make it, I'm sure glad I did.
I miraculously landed a place at the bar counter (note: reservations in advance are essential), the best spot in the restaurant. From here you can admire Diego as he works the tonnato siphon and directs his dynamic kitchen. Instead of ordering from the menu, I decided to put my faith in the chef, opting for an Omakase experience at Trippa.
The first dish, trippa fritta (fried tripe), should come as no surprise. The namesake dish at Trippa didn't disappoint. The tripe was fried perfectly with a crunchy exterior covering the wonderfully tasty tripe inside. Spectacular!
Next up was the signature vitello tonnato (veal with tuna sauce), with an incredibly tender veal and a delicious tuna sauce. Without a doubt, this is the best vitello tonnato I've ever had. The secret is the light and airy tuna sauce, which is whipped with the help of a pressurized siphon.
The third dish, tartare di cavallo e insalata di carciofi (horse tartare and artichoke salad), was my favorite of the night, which is a testament to chef's ability to take dishes we are afraid of, or are perhaps aren't used to eating, and turning them into a joy for our palates. Growing up in Canada, we simply don't eat horse. I've tried horse once in my life and was not a fan. But this tartare was succulent, maybe even better than beef!
The Ravioli al brasato di guancia alla Barbera e mele cotogne (Ravioli with beef cheek braised with Barbera and quince) was a delight (half portion shown below). On my first bite, I was inspired to immediately let chef Diego know how awesome these ravioli were. If you happen to spot this savory dish on the monthly-changing menu at Trippa, order it cazzo!!!
Next up, spalla di montone, crema di topinambour e bergamotto (pulled mutton shoulder, cream of Jerusalem artichoke and bergamot). The mutton was slightly crunchy but very flavorful. Coupled with the tasty artichoke cream, this was one of my favorite dishes of the night.
The oddest dish of the night was Polenta e lingua d'asina brasata al dragoncello (polenta with brasato made with donkey tongue with tarragon). Brasato with polenta is one of my favorite dishes of Northern Italy but it is typically made with beef. In this case, Diego has opted for donkey's tongue, which has an interesting texture and adds an exciting twist to this classic Piedmont specialty.
To close the memorable meal was midollo alla brace (bone marrow), another signature at Trippa. This fatty delicacy is a feast to both the eyes and palate. For extra taste, Diego prepares it with rosemary and gives the customer the option to add even more kick with kosher salt. I can think of no better way to close the adventurous and delicious meal at Trippa.
Thanks to Diego and the staff for a wonderful experience at what is surely one of the top restaurants in the city. Although the trattoria-style experience may be considered too casual for voters, it wouldn't surprise me if one day Trippa lands the coveted star.