[Photos: Brittany Graham Photography]
On July 8, Cleveland chef Jonathon Sawyer and his business partner and wife Amelia Sawyer will finally throw the doors open to their highly anticipated and Kickstarter-backed restaurant Trentina. Named for the Northern Italian city of Trento, the new restaurant will serve specialties of the region in what the chef calls a "modern opulent" dining room. Here's a look inside, plus some intel on what's in store on the menu and on Sawyer's twist on a tasting menu:
The Sawyers designed the look of Trentina themselves, and Jonathon Sawyer explains that they were going for a smart, modern dining room. To that end, they took out about 10 of the seats indoors, and used a palette of coral, biscuit, and especially gold. The tables are mirrors with gilded frames, and about half of them bear the names of Trentina's Kickstarter supporters. An elaborate chandelier is inset in the ceiling of the L-shaped dining room, while local artist Matt Sweeney painted a portrait of a woman Sawyer refers to as Trentina personified.
When it comes to the menu, Sawyer and executive chef (and Eater Young Gun class of 2012) Matt Danko are aiming for a sort of frugal luxury. There will be plenty of pastas, plus some classic dishes from Trento, such as Sawyer's recreated version of strangolapreti. Trentina will also have an emphasis on tableside service, offering dishes such as dripping beef candles made from edible gold leaf and aged beef fat, an old English dish that has attracted considerable attention at London's Restaurant Story. In the drinks department, Trentina will focus on wine from the Trento region (Including German. Austrian, and Alsatian bottles), but also offer beer and cocktails.
Sawyer and Danko also have a tasting menu in the works, but it's not your usual tasting menu. It'll be a little unpredictable and based on the whims and adventurousness of the diner. Sawyer explains that they've basically created two different tasting menus with interchangeable courses that the staff will determine through conversations with the diners. There's no price set yet on the menu.
Trentina, which has already hosted private dinners in honor of visiting chef Dan Barber and in collaboration with Chicago's Homaro Cantu, will open on July 8. Tickets are sold out for the restaurant's opening night, while regular reservations for the first week of service will open next week.