North Italia is a Fox Restaurant Concepts (FRC) that should not be missed. According to Vitopaolo Prencipe, assistant general manager, Italy has 20 different regions each with their own ingredients and generations of growers and producers. Additions to the new menu features menu items from the center of Italy combining north and south for Italian bliss.
Our meal began with a glass of Orvieto, an almost perfect white summer wine from Umbria. I imagined myself drinking it under the Tuscan sun or as reality would eventually settle in – a Tucson sunset.
Perfect for sharing is the Chef’s Board which serves 2 or 3 – a little of this and a little of that – but what stands out the most is the quality of what’s on the board – just salty enough prosciutto di parma, artisan cheeses from Piedmont, marinated eggplant, roasted peppers, Castelvetrano olives, Marcona almonds from Pulia, crisp garlic toasts and light touch of apricot marmalade – a symphony of ingredients to please your palate.
In Tucson, we don’t see branzino on the menu too often as it’s mostly served on the East Coast and is a Mediterranean seabass staple in Italy, Portugal and Greece. At North, the branzino arrived at the table lightly grilled with cipollini onions, fennel, broccolini, farro, lemon and butter.
The beauty is in the burrata tortelloni…light with heirloom cherry tomatoes, basil, a gentle hand of pecorino cheese in rustic just picked off the vine tomato sauce. A medley of flavors synced and each bite of pasta promised a mouthful and mouth-feel of lush burrata cheese.
For the carnivore in your camp, they won’t be disappointed by the light but hearty presentation of red wine glazed short ribs that fell of the bone into a creamy mound of mascarpone polenta.
Then there was dessert – tiramisu from southern Italy, bombinos (puffs of dough basking in rich custard) from the center of Italy and hazelnut torte from northern Italy.
Last but not least – a Sicilian-produced digestif for sipping – Amaro Averna – a heady potion of grapes, figs and herbs. Personally, I wanted to float in it.
While this dinner was hosted, Circle of Food will definitely return soon with friends and foodies in tow to enjoy another fabulous meal. You might consider it too.
North Italia is located at La Encantada Shopping Center, 2995 E. Skyline Drive, 520-299-1600.
Coming soon: North Italia expands to Santa Monica, Dallas and Las Vegas.