On a Friday evening, as part of a birthday celebration, we decided to visit the Poor Italian Ristorante in Vancouver on East 1st Avenue and Rupert. This is a moderately priced Italian restaurant in a largely residential neighborhood.
We had reservations, and were seated immediately upon arrival.
The complimentary bread with creamery butter arrived first. This is nice bread, very crusty. Not sure if it’s made-in-house or not, but I kinda wish the foccaccia was served warm.
It was a fairly busy evening. Not a full house, but pretty close to it.
I started with the Minestrone alla Genovese
This is a vegetable soup in a thick tomato based broth, with carrots, onions, celery, white cannelli beans, ribbons of fresh pasta, served with a dollop of pesto and a slice of crusty bread. This was a pretty good soup. Well seasoned, good flavor.
Next came my pasta, this is their lasagne. This is layers of pasta with a veal ragu and a creamy bechamel sauce, topped with mozzarella, grated parmigianno cheese, and fired in the oven until hot and melty. This is a really nice lasagne and a very generous portion (I took about a third of it home). The ragu is meaty and chunky, the tomato sauce is lightly acidic and nicely seasoned, the mozzarella was soft and melted and the salty parmigianno rounded it out nicely. The pasta was soft (beyond al dente, but that’s just fine for a lasange) and fork tender.
I ended the meal with a little dessert.
or rather, a lot of dessert. This is the Torta Bianco e Nero. It’s a marble cake with a white chocolate and dark chocolate mousse, topped with a tart raspberry coulis and a few fresh berries. The first thing that strikes me is the size of the portion. It’s a big serving of cake. Enough for sharing between two or three people. The cake is slightly dense, but probably for good reason, because of the large portion of white chocolate and dark chocolate mousse that layered in between (otherwise it would be squash under its own weight). The cake is slightly sweet, and the mousses’ were rich and smooth. The tart raspberry coulis offered some contrast to the sweet richness of the cake.
The room is quite large (if slightly dim) and rather rustic.
Our server was quite genial and pleasant, and was always there to assist with a cherry attitude and smile.