This living-room-like restaurant scored points immediately when I leaned back and found a pillow propping up my prematurely battered back. Carastina is decorated in a way that might inspire you to look around for a fireplace. Touted as a Northern Italian trattoria, I was going to take its seafood focus seriously.
We started our meal with fried calamari and a cheese plate. The calamari was satisfying as it usually is, though I would hope for a more artful twist on an almost tired out classic. I soldiered through the cheeses, and am happy to report I am developing a taste for it. No doubt a more seasoned diner of Italian food would cringe at my learning process.
I ordered another classic for my entree, Branzino. This Mediterrean sea bass was cooked just right. Although, for my more violently flavored palate, I would have seasoned it more generously. I wonder if it is because I regularly doom my kidneys. As for the lamb shank special, I found it quite flavorful. For those who enjoy a somewhat different lamb presentation from the usual American steakhouse, this is a certainly a nice change. The bed of rice is wonderfully soaked through with juices, helping the starch go down quickly and easily.
Here my meal ends, my insides still joyfully suffering from the heavy cheese and soppressata combination. Carastina has an organic at home feel that I truly enjoy, and sets the stage for a memorable dining experience. What this little trattoria needs now is a strengthened menu, one that pushes the traditional somewhat. Classic flavors need reinventing once in a while, and with that, Carastina will truly be a neighborhood gem.
What does this rating mean?
Meal was complimentary. Did not impact our views, nor were we required to write about it.