I only need three words to describe Quality Italian‘s new brunch menu for you: PASTA. FOR. BREAKFAST.
Thank you, Jesus.
Last weekend marked the first time the Denver offshoot of Quality Italian started offering their brunch menu and as soon as I saw breakfast pastas on the menu, I nearly lost my mind. Lucky for me, instead of being asked to stop incessantly shouting “CARBS! CARBS! CARBS!”, the PR agent for Quality Italian invited me to come in and taste it for myself to see if it met expectations. So it was on.
I am generally an unfancy person, so whenever I enter a restaurant of a certain elegance I instantaneously start swooning like a Southern belle and start fanning myself while huffing “I have the vapours!” (I carry a fold-up fan in my purse at all times, exactly for emergencies like this.) Quality Italian inspired a number of those overwhelmed feelings in me as I gazed at its glamorous leather-chair lined wrap-around bar and handsome dining room filled with wood tables outfitted with Schott Zwiesel glasswear, and draped with crisp white linens and neatly folded napkins monogrammed with the letters “QI”.
“This place is so nice!” I slack-jaw whispered at my husband as we sat down at our table. He looked at me a little cock-eyed and then politely asked me to close my parasol whilst indoors.
The new brunch menu features a “Pasta Fresca” section where your breakfast dreams come true. Girl, don’t even ask me if there’s Carbonara on the menu. Cute, but did this look like some Basic B*tch Brunch? Welcome to next-level breakfast pasta with a Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Gnudi ($17) and a Breakfast Risotto ($16). In a carbo-loaded version of Sophie’s Choice, I eventually decided on the risotto. The waiter complimented me on my selection, because of course. I was not messing around.
My husband ordered the Baked Egg White Fritatta ($12) because he’s “The Healthy One” in our relationship and the Tricolore Salad ($9) for us to share.
Ok, so in this case, my husband did me a solid because the Tricolore, which was made up of Colorado red bibb and fresh herbs dressed with lemon agrumato was excellent. Fresh greens complimented by the light, subtle coating of the olive oil made for the perfect salad. Like the type of salad that would actually make me want to eat salad.
Husband ate his first Fritatta bite and his eyes blissfully rolled back in his head. I sampled a bite. It was good. The mushroom was especially tasty – incredibly flavorful, and again, everything fresh. Fair enough, egg white fritatta, you proved your worth.
But then, it got real.
Breakfast Risotto time. I took a bite. Then another. I poked the egg yolk and let it run, mixing it back into the dish. Heaven.
Risotto perfectly cooked. Rich, creamy texture without being mushy. The sauce so earthy, rich, and warm — the flavor heightened by tiny bits of mortadella salume sprinkled in the mix and the dusting of crushed pistachio on top. The fresh basil leaves added an herbal earthiness to the dish to top it all off.
My brunch pasta dreams had been realized, and it was even better that I could have imagined.
We ended the meal with an item off the “Dolce” part of the menu – the Signature Lemon Tart ($10). I mean it’s not pasta dessert, but I let it slide because carbs and sugar were still involved. Clearly created by a pastry chef with an appreciation for things organized neatly, because the square tart crust was perfectly dotted with alternating meringue and lemon filling in a 5×5 grid. Accompanying the tart was a decadent smear of ricotta cream with a scoop of mango basil sorbetto and two fresh mint leaves on top. Perfecto!
I’m in love.
Service was excellent. There were also so many other things on the menu that I hope to try in the future. Need to try the Gnudi, of course. I saw another table order the Bananas Foster French Toast and the servers rolled up a hot grill to cook it tableside which looked awesome. They also do this Bellini Cart where they roll up next to your table and make the drink right in front of you.
Quality Italian – 241 Columbine St, Denver, CO 80206