12. Tre Enoteca
555 W. Bitters Rd., (210) 496-0555, facebook.com/treenoteca
By all means start with Tre's luscious lobe of freshly pulled mozzarella. It shimmers with olive oil, sparkles with sea salt, springs back from the touch ... and it just plain tastes good wrestled atop a slab of assertively grilled bread.
And this is only the beginning at this latest iteration of Jason Dady's much-massaged location in Artisan's Alley. The newly opened-up space has shed almost all traces of its most recent Asian-esque guise, there's now a bar with a space more its own, and the overall feeling is at once rustic and airily contemporary. Perfect for pizzas that, while nodding to tradition, sport toppings such as prosciutto, mint and ricotta with black cumin cream.
Pastas also seem to straddle two worlds, a case in point being a plate of fusilli with hand-ground pistachio pesto, cherry tomatoes and Parmesan; it only needed a drizzle of olive oil to bring everything together. With the new concept (which admittedly combines dishes and concepts from both Tre Trattoria and the old Bin 555) also came a new toy, a pasta extruder. It was spitting out squid ink rigatoni one night, and if the tubes tended to collapse with cooking, a lamb ragu with black truffle cream saved the day. A Washington State cabernet could be contemplated here.
However, diners in the mood for something more comforting than confrontational are not neglected. The wood-fired, free-range chicken served in a nest of arugula with piquillo peppers, lardons and fingerling potatoes can simply be enjoyed without any need for examination. Same goes for old fave, Nutella tart.