Estro – Vino e Cucina was opened in 2014 by brothers Alberto and Dario Spezzamonte with the former leading the kitchen and Dario in the front of the house and wine program. It is a wine bar serving modern-style Venetian cuisine and Cicchetti. Of the 2 rooms in the place, the first is the bar and snack area and the second room has a dozen small tables for seated dining. The walls surround you with wine, the floor is stone, a wood ceiling is above that dangles candles, faint music is in the background, and spotlights illuminate the individual tables. They have an a la carte menu, daily specials and 3 or 4 course tasting menus. We created our own tasting of sorts by splitting a number of dishes. The food is inventive and fun.
The first gift from the kitchen was some foccacia with cream. The server said they make a new flavor of it every week. This one had wonderful texture and flavor. It was very tasty.
The second gift was a mix of potato, saffron, and olive oil in a light creamy texture that was best eaten with a spoon. It was topped with dried and crumbled sage leaves. There was also a deep-fried mild pepper that was crispy with tons of flavor and herbiness.
The bread was 3 warm slices of wheat bread with a good crisp crust. The crust was a thin crisp with a good doughy interior.
Grilled local cuttlefish were plated with pumpkin sauce, celeriac cream, grilled cauliflower, and chicory. The plate was filled with nice textures and excellent tastes. It was served warm and the cuttlefish was really tender.
The fish starter of the day was Mantis shrimp served cold. There were 4 on the plate on top of chicory and a bit of radicchio tossed in olive oil and salt. The shrimp were mild in flavor and nicely accented by dipping them in the oil on the greens. Mantis shrimp are strange looking creatures and these were quite fresh and nice but I think I liked the greens better.
Housemade Cacio e Pepe Ravioli “in Cassopipa”, a traditional Venetian seafood sauce. They were nice enough to split this one on to two plates for us. The little pastas were stuffed with mixed seafood bits and spices in a very flavorful sauce. The pastas were tender, perfectly cooked, and provided a terrific vehicle to capture the wonderful sauce. It was lovely with a great aftertaste.
Grilled local eel was plated with fried artichokes and anchovy & garlic sauce. The creamy eel was topped with a very crispy skin. The anchovy was perfect to add a bit of salt to the eel but the oiliness of the eel was almost too much for me with such a large piece. The crispy artichoke was heavenly and also good mixed with the sauces. The sauces were really the key to this plate.
There were some interesting dessert choices but we passed on them.