Trattoria Delia: The Best Shot You’ve Got

I love Trattoria Delia. Whenever I need a pick-me-up, or I need to impress someone, Trattoria Delia is my first choice. It smells like my grandma’s house back in the day: fresh bread, rosemary, wine, sage, and class; not Depends and Alzheimer’s medicine like the last few years.

I went to Trattoria Delia last week with a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in quite a while. It had been about six months since I did my Mr. Hyde thing and she had erased my number from her phone to make room for people with manners and humility. This was my big chance to redeem myself.

If Trattoria Delia were a man, his game would have been stronger than Goldie from “The Mack.” He would’ve been able to walk into a room and have all the girls want him and all the guys want to be him. He would’ve been controlling, manipulating, but in a subtle, palatable fashion.

If I were a restaurant, the service would be a little spotty. I would get flustered advising my patrons on wine (whereas our server was both knowledgeable and totally free from condescension); the food, although delicious, would often be plated in an overly excited manner. I would try to disguise whatever shortcomings there were in my food with silly sauces like a “mango and Salmon Roe chutney,” attempting to be so pompous as to intimidate my patrons into saying they liked the food, regardless of taste. But who knows if they would ever come back. Trattoria Delia does not follow the same pattern.

If Trattoria Delia’s homemade bread were a man, all the girls would talk about how “he seems rough, but once he lets you inside he’s really very sensitive.” His hard, wood-oven baked crust would be intimidating, but all the girls would love it because once they scratched the surface, he would be soft and welcoming. Especially if they spread some of the soft herb butter on top of him. That would be hot.

Perhaps it was the pressure I was putting on myself. Perhaps it was the wine (a bottle from super-chef Mario Battali’s vineyard); perhaps my date was out of my league. Whatever it was, I was far from being that delicious bread I nervously ate all of in about twenty minutes. To my chagrin, I think in retrospect I actually spoke with my mouth full.

In Florence, none of the bread has salt in it. It looks great, smells great, and by all accounts should be great, but without that little bit of salt, it falls flat of what it promises. If I were a loaf of bread, I would have been like that.

If Trattoria’s servers were highway policemen, every traffic stop would result in some good advice about driving, and a friendly warning not to go 97 in a 25 again. The police department would be bankrupt in a month, because all of the highly informed, extremely handsome traffic police would just be too courteous to ticket anyone. But they would definitely know directions to wherever you want to go. If I were a highway policeman, I would brag about my position as a highway policeman constantly. I would ticket everyone, and then laugh as I proved how important I am. “See? I’m cool, aren’t I? I can give people tickets!”

If Trattoria Delia’s Scamorza alla Griglia were a man, the subtle combination of mellow, homemade smoked and grilled mozzarella would blend with the grilled zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes into a combination so fascinating he wouldn’t have to talk about himself at all. He would be too self-confident for self-confidence. If Trattoria Delia’s Eggplant Parmesan were a man, he would be mellow and without any bitterness at all. He would have a six pack, yet he would be tender to the touch.If I were an Eggplant Parmesan, I might look good, but I would have a hard time not getting bitter and soggy.

If Trattoria Delia were a man, eating the Bucatini all ‘ Amatriciana (thick spaghetti in a slightly spicy tomato sauce with bacon and cheese) would be like watching TV on the couch all night with him, but still having a very intellectual conversation. Tortelloni al Gorgonzola e Noci (Tortelloni with three cheeses, on a gorgonzola and walnut sauce) would be like going over to his house and finding out that although he’s a vegetarian, he’s still an amazing cook.

In other words, Trattoria Delia is an amazing restaurant. The servers know everything about the amazing food they serve, and know exactly how to make you comfortable. My game, on the other hand, was less Allen Iverson than it was Shawn Kemp. As this was a redemption date, the pressure was just too much for me and in retrospect I should probably have taken a Xanax earlier to calm my nerves.