Taverna San Marco served a beautifulfamily-style feast for our September Bite Club, each course more delectable than the last. We were set up in the private dining area, which seated the 30 guests in perfect comfort.
The three-course meal gave our Bite Club members a chance to feel like we were dining at an elegant spot in Italy. Our attentive servers poured a divine red wine that complemented the red sauce as we started with meatballs ($10), an Italian staple Chef Sam Efron made with a combination of beef, pork and veal. Our second starter was the housemade burrata ($16), with prosciutto, cherry tomatoes and hearty slices of peasant bread. The creaminess of the burrata, saltiness of the prosciutto, and the sweetness of the tomatoes combined to make a bite that could have been better only if a good-looking Italian fed it to you by hand.
Happy Hour at Taverna San Marco is bellissimo, featuring draft beers ($5) along with snacks like parmesan truffle fries ($5) and marinated olives ($4). The happy hour menu has cocktails, like the Southside/Westside ($7) and Moscow Mule ($7), with housemade ginger syrup.
Taverna San Marco was one of the first spots in the city to feature Neapolitan-style pizza, and the staff’s pizza-tossing skills are still as sharp as the pizza slicer. Our dinner featured two pizzas: soppressata, with a fried egg cracked right in the middle ($17), and a truffle oil mushroom pizza ($16). I love mushrooms on almost everything, so it was easy to inhale a slice or two, but the fried egg pizza is where the Madonna shines her light. Think shakshuka, a Middle Eastern dish with cracked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce … and then put that on a pizza. Try it once, and you’ll be back for more.
The perfectly symmetrical housemade ravioli ($16/$24) was served with a chunky ratatouille with Swiss chard and toasted hazelnuts. Anyone who’s made pasta will be instantaneously jealous of the pasta’s circular perfection. The roasted Brussels sprouts, a seasonal offering, made this lover of wee cabbages quite happy. Chef Efron said preparing the sprouts is something of a family tradition, as he and his father started making them together while he was in college, and the tradition stuck. The Brussels were plated on a thick, creamy spread of butternut squash purée with walnuts. With the three combined, this dish was a delicious welcome to autumn.
For dessert, Taverna San Marco offered a fine selection of treats created by Pastry Chef Christina Longo. The board included chocolate pave with flake salt, vanilla panna cotta, chocolate caramel tartlets, pumpkin whoopie pies, and mint ice cream sandwiches. It’s hard, as a sweets lover, to pick and choose among such delights, but the mint ice cream sandwich is a revelation. It all comes down to fresh mint which is as crisp and cool as the Trevi Fountain.
Expect true hospitality and authentic Italian fare at Taverna San Marco.
Visit Taverna online at taverna.restaurant