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Bucatini Trattoria

Update 1/13/11: Bucatini Trattoria is closed.

In a word: Among the cream of the Greenway crop.

The specs: #0427
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at 77 Square, Decider, Isthmus, Cap Times; official web site, Bucatini Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Ann ate the lobster ravioli.
JM ate the pasta vesuvio.
Nichole ate the pizza with gorgonzola, fig butter and prosciutto with a diet Coke.
Peter ate the pork tenderloin in wine sauce with prosciutto.
We split a lemon torte and a creme brulee.
The bill was about $120, or $30/person, plus tip.
JM gave Bucatini Trattoria an A-; Nichole gave Bucatini Trattoria a B+ (see our grading rubric).

Latest Bucatini Trattoria news and reviews

Bucatini Trattoria was not the collegiate bargain trough we'd gathered from other reviews, rather a slightly upscale if chain-like Italian venue in the former Macaroni Grill at Greenway Station. This Saturday night it was packed (what recession?) and a bit noisy, with tables close together and the floor swarming with attentive servers.

The menu is huge. Speaking as three librarians and a big fan of the alphabet, we had plenty of opinions about making the newspaper-sized tome easier to navigate by adding subsections by main ingredient and/or sauce base under each division, of which there were several. The sheer volume of pasta dishes, pizzas, and house specialties was daunting. To his credit, our server made good suggestions.

A bread and olive-infused butter was a nice starter, but dinner salads (a la carte) were not too special. We wanted for no refills during the brief wait for our entrees.

Peter's pork tenderloin came in a delicate wine sauce. Ann's lobster ravioli was wonderful - rich, buttery and plump. Nichole's pizza had a thin, crispy crust - not quite Pizza Brutta or the lost, lamented Cafe Porta Alba, but decent. The flavor combination of tangy gorgonzola, salty prosciutto, and sweet fig butter was well-balanced. JM's pasta vesuvio was a basic red sauce dish. Sans meat it frankly wasn't terribly filling, and when it arrived it didn't seem quite warm enough. The red sauce was good, though, especially the outstanding flavor of the roasted tomatoes. 

Dessert was a wonderful lemon torte. On offer also were gelato (played convincingly by scoops of butter on the dessert showcase tray), tiramisu, and an obligatory chocolate volcano cake. We also tried the creme brulee, which was passable, but the fruit topping robbed us of a lot of the fun of cracking the crust.

Throughout the meal we received wonderful service - it was so attentive, in fact, that Peter originally thought our cover had been blown by Nichole's photography (in vain due to low light) but looking around he saw that every table was well attended to. He'll be back, and so might we when we're looking for a place to take a large group with diverse opinions - this strikes us as a fine place for an office lunch.


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I quite liked that place when I was there, and it certainly made up for the pang of disappointment I felt when I learned that the Mac Grill had closed (I come from a vast land of chain restaurants and so have a soft spot for some of the better ones). I had a risotto that was really delicious. I'm glad you guys liked it too... I'll be back there when I feel like eating a week's worth of calories ;)

Not mentioned here, but it's run by the same guys who do Tutto Pasta. I'd agree with your summary, good but not great Italian. On par with (maybe SLIGHTLY better than) Biaggi's, which is a mile south.

I'll throw in a recommendation for the Squid Ink Risotto, which isn't something you see on too many menus around Madison.

Tried it yesterday for lunch, penne with mushrooms and steak in a tomato cream sauce. Tasty, but vaguely "prepared" tasting.

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