I Fratellini

Why does no one talk about I Fratellini? The only logical reason I can think of is that all the other publications and blogs want to keep this gem hidden as best they can. I must admit that even I thought about skipping this review or lying and saying it's terrible, don't go. Instead, I chose to share the truth with you: this is an excellent restaurant that you need to try.

Fratellini is located off Wydown and Hanley. In a word, the restaurant is romantic. Lots of dark wood, sexy lighting, and marble. Gents, if you need to propose/apologize/woo your lady, this is the place to do it - but make sure you call at least a week in advance. Reservations can be hard to come by due to the restaurant's small size and popularity.

 I Fratellini

I Fratellini

 Menu at I Fratellini

Menu at I Fratellini

 Cocktail at I Fratellini

Cocktail at I Fratellini

Picking a starter was difficult, but ultimately we decided that the Caprini would suit our needs. Warm, mild goat cheese is surrounded by roasted garlic, capers, sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, and crunchy crostini. This is my favorite kind of Italian food: simple ingredients that pair together beautifully.

 Caprini at I Fratellini

Caprini at I Fratellini

 Bruschetta at I Fratellini

Bruschetta at I Fratellini

I think Fratellini does seafood extremely well, so that is what I usually go for (though I have heard a number of recommendations for their lamb chops). The majority of the time, I end up with their Pistachio Encrusted Trout. Since I was a wee lad, I have been obsessed with pistachio. It's absolutely one of my favorite flavors, and often my gelato choice at Pastaria. I have tried a number of times to recreate this dish at home, but I just can't get the same pistachio crust that they do. It's a mix of very finely ground pistachios and larger chunks, all of which go so well with the trout. I can't get enough of it.

The fish is lightly drizzled with a citrus butter and rests on a bed of sauteed spinach.

 Trout at I Fratellini

Trout at I Fratellini

 Whole Fish at I Fratellini

Whole Fish at I Fratellini

Another staple menu item is the Whole Roasted Pompano, served with roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, and scalloped potatoes (as well as asparagus the night we went). Once again, very simple flavors and cooking technique, but the end product is fantastic.

If you're there on a date, get this and impress your partner. They'll be impressed by your ability to eat a whole animal and will likely reward you with sweet lovin'. Or you'll make a fool of yourself trying to eat around the bones and end up alone forever.

After getting the other people at the table to order the things I really wanted, I picked out something I'd never had before: Pan Seared Salmon with shaved fennel and citrus over sauteed spinach in saffron broth.  I won't put it on the same level as the trout, but I really enjoyed this summery dish. I was worried it was going to be overly citrusy, but it all balanced out nicely. Salmon and fennel, in particular, works nicely. The salmon itself was perfectly cooked and had potato chip crunchy skin, so I was happy.

 Citrus Salmon at I Fratellini

Citrus Salmon at I Fratellini

 Lemon cake at I Fratellini

Lemon cake at I Fratellini

Fratellini's tiramisu is the best I've had in town, but we rolled the dice and tried the Lemon & Coconut Roulade. I've been thinking about this since we ate there. Lemon. Coconut. Cake. Filled with tiramisu cream. Orgasmic.

You'll never find me on The Hill eating at some of those 'classic' Italian restaurants St. Louis has touted for so long. There's more to Italian cuisine than chicken parm and shrimp scampi. I'll take I Fratellini, Pastaria, and Katie's Pizza & Pasta over those places any day.

I Fratellini

7624 Wydown Blvd

Clayton, MO 63105

314 727-7901