Nestled among the chain restaurants on the outskirts of the Tacoma Mall sits the Adriatic Grill, a warm, welcoming eatery known for flavorful Italian food, wine - and succulent desserts.
Diners need not worry: Its three-course menu for Tacoma Restaurant Week definitely represents.
Those dining at the Adriatic Grill between Oct. 14-18 and 21-25 have the choice of lunch or dinner, where they can choose between four starters, four entrees and three desserts.
"Every one is a signature item," said chef Bill Trudnowski, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Monique. "They really are a broad, but straightforward representation. If you want to come to the Adriatic Grill, these are the popular items - the ones that have been around for a while."
Both lunch ($15) and dinner ($25) start with the choice of soup - Creamy Porcini Mushroom or Lentil and Italian Sausage - or a salad made of either field greens or fresh ciliengini mozzarella, grape tomatoes and basil in a Skewered Caprese.
The mushroom soup, in particular, is a hit with customers. Made from a base of "many, many pounds of many mushrooms," it is one of the items that have resulted in people jokingly vowing to hurt Trudnowski if he ever takes it off the menu.
"I have shipped that soup all over the country," he said. "People who have moved away call and say they're having Thanksgiving dinner ... it's pretty special."
Lunch entrees are a Chop Chop Salad, Parmigiano-Reggiano Crusted Tilapia and the highly popular Roasted Chicken Cannelloni. This delectable dish, featuring house-made crepes, is baked in a garlic cream sauce and topped with pine nuts, fontina and mozzarella. Also offered is the Adriatic Burger, topped with caramelized onions, arugula, tomato, pancetta, provolone and garlic aioli.
"I will put that burger against anyone in the city," Trudnowski said. "It's the best burger in town."
In addition to the tilapia and cannelloni, dinner guests have the choice of a Balsamic Barbeque Pork Chop served atop sweet-corn risotto or Smoked Salmon Penne. The latter, featuring salmon smoked on-site, is the most popular entree on the menu.
The meal concludes on a particularly sweet note with a trio of desserts nearly impossible to choose from: traditional Spumoni, the intriguing Affogato Al Cafe, featuring white-chocolate ice cream topped with espresso, vanilla whipped cream and chocolate covered espresso beans, or the Adriatic Grill's signature Italian Truffles.
"Anyone can make truffles; it's not a difficult process," Trudnowski said. "But it's about the chocolate and the flavor.
"Give me a cup of espresso and two of those truffles and leave me alone for 15 minutes. I'll be a happy guy."
Adriatic Grill, 4201 S. Steele St., Tacoma, 253.475.6000
For information on Tacoma Restaurant Week click here.
A virtual menu guide of participating restaurants can be found here.