Don’t all it a comeback. Call it a reboot.
David Levi, the chef/owner of Vinland, opens his second Portland restaurant in February called Trattoria Fanny. (OK it’s technically his third.) But RossoBianco, the month’s old Italian spot opened and closed faster than an oyster.
“I didn’t want a fine dining restaurant,” said Levi. “I already have a fine dining restaurant.”
Launching with partner Colleen Callahan, whose wine buying chops at Aurora Provisions gave RossoBianco vino cred, something was lost in translation. Just as too many cooks can spoil the broth, the cozy Italian spot Levi envisioned wasn’t fully plated. Though business was fine, said Levi, “creative differences” soon emerged.
“The concept was not what I had intended,” said Levi, who has beefed up the portions and toned down the prices. At Trattoria Fanny (pronounced Fah-nee after Levi’s Italian grandmother) Callahan is gone and Levi is now majority owner.
His new concept, which opens in Bramhall Square in mid-February, aims to appeal to all walks and wallets.
“This will be a place my Uncle Nathan in Florence would go to three times a week,” said Levi, of his new no-fuss, sit down Italian restaurant.
To pull off this rustic spread, from antipasti to dolci, Roman chef Siddharta Rumma, who last worked at Eataly in Boston and The Corner Room in Portland, will be the force in the open kitchen. Growing up in Italy’s food capital, Rumma learned the essence of Italian food: keep it simple.
And that is what the former food blogger plans to do with this saltimbocca, a veal cutlet with prosciutto and sage, and classic pasta dishes like carbonara.
“Everybody knows carbonara, but nobody knows the real carbonara,” said Rumma. His is made with eggs and cured meats.
All the wine is Italian, most of it organic and there will be proscecco on tap. About those affordable prices?
A plate of homemade pappardelle with meat sauce is $13 and entrees like osso buco, braised beef shank, top out at $16. There will be wine by the glass for $6 and beer for $3.50.
“It’s more affordable, more approachable and larger portions,” said Levi, who also plans to be open for lunch. Hearty mid-day repasts like minestrone soup, salads and sandwiches, should keep the staff at Maine Med fueled between surgeries.
“We want everyone to come in,” said Levi. “It’s a trattoria, simple food as it’s done in Italy.”
Trattoria Fanny, 3 Deering Ave, will open softly sometime around Feb. 8.