For Italians, food conquers all of the senses. The eyes are pleased by bright and varying colors, the mouth is enticed by sassy, fresh ingredients. The heart is warmed with togetherness. And the soul is sometimes healed with rich wine -- in my case usually a lot of red wine. Cosentino’s Trattoria on MLK Boulevard will tug at your heart strings with its immediate sidewalk charm. Its small tables and rustic exposed brick are inviting and warm. And the wait staff is beyond most any other. From the moment I walked in, I was tended to quickly and with heartfelt honesty. My waiter was charming and knowledgeable. I chose to have a small cup of the tomato basil soup to begin, which was thick and hearty. Other appetizer options include a fresh caprese salad, which is layered fresh mozarella, tomatoes and basil leaves. Other light and hearty bright salads are all reasonable and fresh. For my entrée, my waiter recommended the mussels and linguine with white sauce and he was right on the mark. A heaping pile of mussels were nestled amidst a nest of perfectly cooked linguine. Fresh basil leaves adorned the dish and made for a great presentation. My cup did runneth over! The sauce was a light but bright lemon garlic sauce with fresh herbs. It was not too heavy and did not overwhelming the natural bite of the mussels. It reminded me of home, where mussels and clams are abound in many Friday dishes. Other entrée options included meatball sandwiches, for under $10. Pastas favorites like manicotti, large noodles dripping with varying cheeses. Classics like pasta with Alfredo sauce and light seafood made choosing my meal difficult. But, nothing, absolutely nothing that me or my friends had could out-do dessert. Every since leaving New York, I have traveled the country looking for a decent cannoli or tiramisu and it is difficult. Cannoli, a small pastry “tube,” is light and filled with a sweet ricotta cream. The cream is simple but is sometimes too sweet. The shell, which is light and flaky is usually overdone. Not in this case. My cannoli, was only $4, was large enough to share, and helped me shake off any weekday stress. It was overstuffed with ricotta and powered sugar and small chocolate chips. Two cherries and small piles of fresh whipped cream pleased my eyes and eventually my tongue. The tiramisu, a dessert with mascarpone cheese, a light sweet cream cheese, an is nuzzled between espresso soaked lady fingers. It is smooth, sweet and bold like an Italian man. Not to be missed or ignored! I decided to really test this little cozy spot and request an espresso. Whoever made my espresso knew his or her stuff. The crema (small bit of foam on top) was perfect and rich and kept my blood pumping. With an appetizer, two entrees, drinks and dessert, our bill was only $40. It was incredible and sealed the deal for me. I will be back there as often as they will have me. I hope to try every dish and enjoy some wine -- okay, I will enjoy a lot of wine. And I’ll let myself be swept off my feet by true Italian charm, once again.
Cosentino’s Trattoria is at 44 MLK Blvd, near Congress. Open until midnight every night except Sunday.