Chef’s Tasting  At La Trattoria di Francesco

In early January, the Mirenda family from Palermo, Italy, expects to launch their newest and most authentic Sicilian gastronomic adventure. “This is 100% Italian culture in both cuisine and experience,” says Giuseppe Mirenda, co-owner of the Sicilia Mia restaurants, and son of patriarch, Francesco, the namesake of a new eatery at 15th and 15th. What began in 2015 as a dream has blossomed into a flourishing food and cultural entertainment business. Sharing their passion for good food and good living has resulted in more family members moving to Utah to help run the six restaurants.

A local partner intimately involved in the expansion is Frank Granato, son of the late Sam Granato, and whose family has operated Granato’s Importing for seven decades.

“We pride ourselves in making dishes that Nonna (Grandmother)would be proud to call her own,” Giuseppe says, something you want to hear an Italian chef say. The recipes they use have been passed down from past generations in Palermo, so prepare to be delighted. You may frequently hear shouts of “Bella, Bella!” coming from the kitchen, which adds to the authentic charm. And no wonder, the food indeed is absolutely gorgeous.

The Mirendas’ Sicilian heritage will make its way into each dish served at what will be an intimate chef’s table at La Trattoria di Francesco located at the former Paris restaurant location in east Sugar House.

Prepare to spend a leisurely amount of time—two hours is average for a true Italian dinner of this kind—at small table groupings of 8 to 25. Enjoy time spent visiting with friends and family, punctuated by the occasional food floor show as each new course is served. Patrons will enjoy a view of the kitchen to watch meats and fish being prepared. Regional Italian wines will be offered to pair specifically with each course.

What follows is a sampling of dishes you can look forward to at a future La Trattoria di Francesco chef’s table.

Some Standouts
Tender octopus over pureed fava beans

Antipasti: Octopus alle fave
Starting with possibly the tenderest octopus you’ll ever taste, lightly breaded and slowly baked for several hours, served over a bed of pureed fava beans and drizzled with basil oil, nothing could be as inviting as a first course. The softness gives way to a buttery, light, sweet flavor and a texture more typically found in shrimp.

Housemade pasta in a truffle cream sauce

Al dente tagliatelle al vino rosso and tartufo
Shall I compare thee to a homemade pasta dish? Chef Franco’s pasta is made from scratch daily, usually in the wee hours of the morning, and is a delightful surprise of simplicity twirled atop an artful splatter of red wine and beet reduction, which balances the richness of the cheese, truffle and cream.

Tomahawk steak with basil

Flamed tomahawk al basilico
Tomahawk steak, oven roasted in an herb crust, finished by torching (this family loves fire) in front of diners is quite the showstopper befitting a beautiful cut of beef rib-eye steak requiring nothing fancy on the plate—the hint of char will appeal to all the carnivores in your family.

Italian fruit tart

“Il dolce, the best part of the dinner.”
—pastry chef Davide Biondo

Diners have a choice of homemade desserts, made fresh daily. The buccelati (Sicilian cookies filled with fig) features all the delights of a typical Italian cookie with a crispy bite and a chewy interior. Also consider the classic Italian fruit tart, with fresh fruit and pastry cream in a homemade butter shell. Another strong finish is the strawberry mousse with Chantilly cream and shortbread. Pair it with a fine cup of espresso to top off a true Sicilian meal.
The reason they created Trattoria di Francesco? “It’s all because of you,” Giuseppe says humbly, referring to Sicilia Mia’s enthusiastic fans who can’t seem to get enough of their food. All we can say is “Grazie!”

La Trattoria di Francesco
1500 S. 1500 East, SLC
Scheduled to open Jan. 8

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