Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I woke up Sunday morning with visions of a marina in my head. The summer is quickly coming to a close and I've only been to the beach once! However, this morning, what really called to me was whiling away the hours at a yacht club; enjoying a triple decker club sandwich w/extra mayo, sipping Lynchburg Lemonade, while watching the nautical types moore and un-moore sleek vessels gleaming in the sunlight. Sadly, this was not to be, but it did put me in mind of a restaurant I'd been wanting to try that at least has a view of the rowers on Kelly Drive - Franco's Trattoria (4116 Ridge Ave).
It's an Italian eatery, with a very unassuming facade, in fact, it's very un-noticeable underneath the bridge over pass - neither sitting on Ridge Avenue or Kelly Drive, but rather in between. Upon entering, you find the interior to be very nice, not upscale, but the kind of place to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. Many of the tables have plush, upholstered banquettes, which create that "let's settle in an really eat feeling". The best part of the dining experience however is the lattice walled patio in the rear of the restaurant. So many establishments in Center City are too close to the street and foot traffic to truly enjoy dining alfresco. Franco's Trattoria's enclosed patio (with a view of the river) is cool, spacious and partly covered with awnings.
The Happy Hour from 5-7pm on the patio I'd seen advertise, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out they serve a Sunday Brunch from 11am-3pm. Frattas and Omelette's of the day, Steak and Eggs, Stuffed French Toast, and three or four other heavier, more Italian offerings. Prices range from $13.95-$17.95. Once upon a time, brunch prices like these would have included coffee and a Mimosa, gone are those times forever, I suppose.
Bikers are offered a 15% discount for Sunday Brunch along with safe on site parking for your cycle, so come to carb load before or after your ride.
Funny enough, I passed on the brunch and went for the Chicken Parmesan Sandwich instead. Standard, but very good. The breading was light and the roll was delicious. Speaking of which, they bake their own bread on site and the homemade Focaccia Bread served with a Sundried Tomato Pesto is worth the venture out of Center City alone. I know, you're thinking that sounds too salty, but it's not, I actually thought it was a ragu. My server Rachael ( a more feminine looking Hilary Swank look-alike) was very attentive. I mumbled something about not being excited about the side of field greens that accompanied the sandwich (along with crispy roasted potatoes) and when my plate arrived she had substituted the little salad for lovely thin, buttery asparagus. Rating: 3 Tines
Nevertheless, as enjoyable as my dining experience was at Franco's Trattoria, with the Labor Day holiday approaching, I'm still looking for a "boatswain" and a "bow thruster" to celebrate the end of the summer.