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Reviews: MODI, a (nice) mediterranean surprise in Torregrotta

Giuseppe Geraci has never thought of going away from Torregrotta, where is born. Indeed, He believed deeply in the resources of the territory and the possibility to fulfill his restaurant in a place that no one could define ' touristic ', Despite its proximity to Milazzo and the Aeolian Islands. So this young chef of 29 years, together with the equally young wife Alexandra Quattrocchi, Today manages the restaurant MODI, a local who opened its doors in 2011 (just 21 years) And that, by March 2017, has found its permanent location in a modern villa just outside Torregrotta, with a large terrace overlooking the sea and the Islands.

For me, I know Torregrotta and its surroundings, and I know the offer of local restaurants, well done, quality but definitely rustica, or focused on wedding receptions and catering, find a restaurant with the size and sophistication of Modi was a surprise. Graduated from the Milazzo Tourism Institute and then to the hotel. The first word that comes to mind to define the style in the kitchen of the restaurant Modì is "clean", because without excess and no frills, Lightweight, It is based firmly on the Sicilian tradition and the use of local raw materials, the chef adds a touch of personality that makes an original dish. The Modi Torregrotta restaurant is part of The stops of Ulysses and the Chic-Charming Italian Chef.

UPDATE: we returned to Joseph Geraci in August of 2019 and found confirmation of the opinion already expressed in 2017. At the end of the article the review of the update with the new menu and photos.

 

The local

The restaurant has about 30 seats, that are the same in both winter and summer, Despite the terrace allows you to double the places. In the kitchen, In addition to the chef, There are two people while the room is entrusted to the courtesy of the young Alessandra, sommelier Ais. Modì restaurant menu changes with the seasons and only six starters, six starters and six seconds, plus some specials that chef Geraci improvise with what is new and fresh on the market. For almost all it is a seafood menu, with small meat and vegetarian suggestions. The value for money is certainly very beneficial, the portions are generous but served in a stylish manner.

The décor is simple and gaunt, with beautiful walls dominated by white and taupe. Modern and minimal tables are lit by pendant lights. Few white ceramics to soften the environment, also because the real protagonists of the room are the large Windows (with beautiful wood joinery) overlooking the terrace making filter the unmistakable light of Sicilian sky.

Get started

Customer care begins with a tasting of extra virgin olive oil, Biancolilla of company Val Favara Paradise (Agrigento) and with the cornmeal breadsticks Tumminia homemade. The bread is, instead, provided at the Modì restaurant by an external bakery and is the only item that is not prepared on site. Among the appetizers, I chose the raw fish (13 euros): squid julienne, Red prawns of Mazara del Vallo, swordfish with candied orange, fish dolphinfish (Capone) with white peach and amberjack carpaccio. The raw is accompanied by salt of Motya and extra virgin olive oil.

I also tasted a delicious red prawn of Mazara del Vallo, marinated in rum and served with Green Apple and mojito granita: beautiful presentation, perfect combination between acidity of green apple crisp, the freshness of the slush and the hint of rum vaporized on the plate at time of service. Definitely a dish so fresh and very centered for the summer season.

Then I tried the mosaic of sea (13 euros), varied and tasty: nine small hot and cold seafood morsels that the chef prepares daily. In this dish are samples of traditional mold, as the octopus salad, the mussels, fish balls, the sarda allinguata (breaded and deep fried), But even the most creative whims such as breaded in coconut rapé croaker (scale armor), a squid salad with pesto, a tartlet of Zucchini with red shrimp, a cannoli of bread with aubergine and blue fish.

The first courses

Among the first courses, I ordered one of the dishes chef Geraci historians: the goodies fresh pasta with Eggplant, ricotta cream and prawns (12 euros). A plate always in paper, Although with different fillings depending on the season: six stuffed ravioli, served on a shrimp bisque, made with a sheet of fresh egg pasta, cooked al dente and flavorful. Persistent and pleasant the stuffing of Eggplant and salted ricotta and engaging with the prawns just blanched.

Yet, I tasted a mixed of Gragnano pasta into soup of fish and shellfish (12 euros). A very generous portion, even a little’ excessive, but definitely yummy for flavor and balance of flavors, which tend to be sweet but finely tuned. The dough was risotto made inside the soup, that took a creamy consistency, with rich pieces of chopped fish and shrimp. Knowing the difficulties of cooking mixed, that contains the formats would benefit from different cooking methods, I would have preferred, however, a slightly more al dente pasta. In addition to fresh homemade pasta, Modì restaurant uses only two types of Sicilian pasta, signed by pastificio Square (Moio Alcantara) or from pastificio Field (Erice, Trapani).

Seeing it on paper I also found a risotto, I wanted to test the chef on one of the dishes that are crucial for any self-respecting kitchen. So I tasted the carnaroli "Pilavecia", with caciocavallo ragusano Dop, amberjack, lemon and pink pepper (12 euros). Truly a well-executed risotto, the wave, with perfect cooking times, accompanied by a nice hint of lemon, not to overpower the delicacy of raw Yellowtail. Fatty and acidic balance plate, with lemon that cupping the fat caciocavallo. Personally, I don't like the pink pepper, but I loved this dish.

The main courses

Among the main courses, I tried a second of the day and a second of meat. Great fish fillets (fish capone), with caramelized onions, Mint and orange sauce (14 euros). It is a variation of a Sicilian dish (the fish with the cipuddata), that is a good expression in the combination of citrus taste of oranges and the sweet onion sauce. Perfect cooking of Dolphin fish, with crispy skin and soft inside and pink, to the heart.

Good, Although definitely in the wake of traditional cuisine, the Nebrodi black pork tenderloin with herbs, glazed black bee honey of monti Nebrodi, hazelnuts and a balsamic vinegar reduction. I liked the slight note of honey, able to exalt the pork.

I dessert

We close with sweets, made everyone in the House (5-6 euro). Also in this case the card allows you to choose from six case stories. Predominantly flat cakes. I tried a Apple Pie, accompanied by vanilla ice cream and white chocolate sauce. A classic, well executed, Surely that satisfies the palate but without surprise.

Then a great icecream to Malvasia delle Lipari, with land of snack homemade (a cookie typically Sicilian almonds) and capers of Salina marshmallows. Really good ice cream, creamy and intense flavor of Malvasia, served at the right temperature. Pleasant pairing with spicy snack homemade crumbs, and with the note still tasty, Despite candying, Capers. One dessert that I would eat it again.

Good (but definitely be revised as regards the portion, too filling after a meal) the cream cheese, with wafer by cannolo, cinnamon and bitter orange gel. This is one of the many variations, and decompositions, of Sicilian cannolo. Crunchy, not greasy, but a little’ too thick rind cannoli; the cream cheese concoction that I imagine could be much richer flavors in autumn and not at the beginning of September. I found very interesting pairing with bitter oranges. Closing with lemon and espresso cookies, offered by the chef. Wine list predominantly Sicilian style, with some good Italian label, with high average mark-ups. Great selection of liqueurs and sweet wines and passiti. The price paid for the meal is definitely lighter for the quality of food came to the table. The service is courteous and accurate, the dishes are explained very well, great detail on ingredients and cooking techniques. A safe address for those who are in Messina.

(visited in September 2017 and in August 2019)

  • UPDATE August 2019

Two years after the first review, Joseph Geraci has honed his ability to build healthy food, with just a few ingredients and well representatives of the territory. His cuisine remains a substantial cuisine, the portions (Luckily) They are calibrated, less abundant, the aesthetics of the most refined and severe flat. Geraci has mastered the art important to remove the superfluous. The prices are slightly higher, but the value for money remains convenientissimo. In the paper there are still some dishes-symbol, like risotto Ragusano, lemon and pink pepper powder, the excellent swordfish arancino (without rice) and Vastedda Belice, Mazara red shrimp with green apple and iced Mojito, next to new dishes. The welcome is a crusty bread roll with tomato, basil and eggplant, bread and breadsticks are homemade Sicilian ancient grains and the bread is done to taste the Sicilian extra virgin olive oil (Lorenzo Barbera oil mills).

Among the new dishes we tried the crispy grilled octopus with spinach cream, confit tomatoes and salty pastry with sesame seeds, Lightweight, flavorful and tasty. In 2019 the cost of the starters is between 10 and 19 Euros (raw fish), one of the first from 10 to 15 euro, that of the latter is between 15 and 19 Euros. Sweets between 6:07 €. The customer can also choose between three tasting menu, served for at least two people: the first (Island flavors) It consists of four courses of fish at a cost of 40 Euros; the second (scents of Sicily) consists of 9 flow rates (of meat and fish) a 70 euro; the third (Make you) a tasting of 7 to chef's choice dishes, at a cost of 55 Euros.

Two spaghetti among the first. Good, although slightly too oily, carbonara revisited, prepared with a light garlic sauce, Olio e peperoncino, crispy bacon, pepper and black tea eggnog and savory. Optimal Cooking pasta, al dente, as well as the chef's version of spaghetti with clams, always prepared with a light base oil and garlic which is added an emulsion of seawater and the traditional 'muddica atturrata’ siciliana, or crumbs of toast. A first well-balanced dish from the salt point of view and from the remarkable creaminess.

Among the main courses we chose a juicy smoked yellowtail with almond wood, with burnt aubergine: a light dish and well calibrated, with the smoky note is not annoyingly persistent, and a tender pork tenderloin (already eaten in 2017 but today a new dress) seasoned with his fund emulsified with honey bee black Nebrodi and sour hint of traditional balsamic vinegar of Reggio Emilia.

Geraci has honed her hand on the sweet, making an end pleasant and balanced meal: we have chosen the same cakes of 2017 and, especially the cannoli, the difference is seen and feels. The Sicilian cannoli sprawl has become a delicate cornucopia (crispy fried and not greasy) with a lightly flavored cream cheese cinnamon and candied lemon. Always good also the Malvasia delle Lipari ice cream with candied capers and piparelle (a typical cookie messinese) crushed. Small final pastry-based mini sighs ricotta, marzipan and hazelnut sable.

Deserves again applaud the dining room service, He led with a firm hand by Alessandra Quattrocchi, sommelier of great experience and passion, which in two years has further gained in confidence and competence. Alessandra care a wine list really well done, with a prevalence of small Sicilian producers, intelligent and sophisticated excursions in Italy and in the world. The wine list prices are the most correct of 2017 and there is also the possibility to drink a bottle brought from home (corkage at 5 €) or take away the unfinished wine. In paper, Also a choice of cafes and craft, for a meal, in addition to traditional Sicilian sweet wines, Also a selection of bitters island.

MODI
via Barasa – Contrada Maddalena
Torregrotta (Messina)
phone: 345 092 8345

Reviews: MODI, a (nice) mediterranean surprise in Torregrotta

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