A Gem in University Circle
Trentina, the sixth restaurant from James Beard Award-nominated Executive Chef Jonathon Sawyer and his wife, Amelia Sawyer, provides an intimate fine dining experience with a menu of Northern Italian cuisine and wine. The restaurant pays homage to the foodways of Trentino, Italy, where Amelia and her family originate. Because the Sawyers are guided by the principle of reduced food miles, they utilize local purveyors and Ohio farmers to ensure the utmost quality ingredients, while still incorporating important elements of authentic Italian cuisine. Trentina’s menu showcases the distinct cuisine of the Tyrolean region, which draws inspiration from Italy’s neighboring territories such as Germany and France, melded with the commonality of native ingredients in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley. Thus, dishes highlight Midwestern ingredients alongside imported and esoteric Italian products, and are prepared with classic techniques and inventive flavors.
In traditional Italian style, the menu features several courses: Primo, Insalata, Crudo, Pasta, and Entrée, as well as an optional twelve-course tasting Menu Bianco. At Trentina, Chef Sawyer takes culinary innovation to new heights with a true Food Lab on-site. Here, he works in tandem with his wild food forager and larder master, along with other members of his team, to test recipes, cure meats, ferment sauces, grow flavored finishing salts, harvest local plants foraged from the Cuyahoga Valley, and manipulate other housemade ingredients like cheese, yogurt, and butter that are produced in Trentina’s larder. Trentina’s revolutionary Food Lab is used for Team Sawyer’s growing list of lauded concepts.
To complement Trentina’s rustic and bold dishes, the restaurant’s beverage program focuses on Old World wines, Italian beers, and craft spirits. The wine program is a survey of northern Italy, specifically highlighting the regions of Trentino Alto-Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Lombardy, and Valle d’Aosta. The hyper-focused list also offers a small sampling of wines from Germany and Austria—a nod to the history of Trentino-Alto Adige, which became part of Italy within the past century and thus still possesses strong ties to the above mentioned territories’ traditions. Although Trentina’s list is confined to a narrow set of geographic parameters, it displays great diversity among producers and varietals not often found in Cleveland. Indeed, while powerhouses like Cantina Terlano, Dal Forno Romano, and Tomasso Bussola are featured, numerous lesser-known, boutique producers are regularly introduced. The list is organized in an approachable fashion in that wines are grouped by varietal or commonly recognized appellation. As an educational tool for guests, each subsection offers a brief description with varietal insights and nuances. Trentina also offers a beverage pairing option in conjunction with the restaurant’s twelve-course Menu Bianco. This pairing option is comprised of wine, beer, cocktails, and non-alcoholic beverage selections, and truly examines the craftsmanship of Team Sawyer’s favorite producers.
Amelia Sawyer served as muse for Trentina, so it only made sense that she imagined the restaurant’s design. Working with Cleveland’s most creative designers, Amelia incorporated luxe elements and collaborated with local furniture designer Jason Radcliffe of 44 Steel and graphic designer Christine Wisniewski to create a one-of-a-kind look for Trentina. Her aesthetic is polished and expressive, celebrating the artistry of the food and the joyful voice of the Italian language. Trentina’s opulent yet relaxed fine dining ambiance emulates the theatric culinary presentations. The logo, eccentric and scripted in gold, takes inspiration from traditional Italian signage. Housed in the carriage house adjacent to The Glidden House, a historic boutique hotel that was once an impressive mansion built in 1910, Trentina shines with clean lines and powerful art work. Metallic colors play a major role in the décor, with mirrored tables and gold walls, along with a one-of-a-kind community art piece that serves as a glamorous focal point in the room. The Sawyers worked with The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Cleveland to collaborate on the special art installation, a chandelier featuring iridescent beads strung together by Clevelanders to create an elaborate ornament that hangs from restaurant’s vaulted ceiling. In the warmer months, an intimate al fresco patio offers a more casual setting for lunches and summer dinners.
Trentina is open Monday through Friday 11am-10pm, Saturday brunch 10am-2pm, Saturday Supper 5pm-10pm, Sunday brunch 11am-2pm and Sunday Supper 4pm-9pmand is located at 1903 Ford Dr. Cleveland, OH 44106 (216)421-2900 www.restauranttrentina.com