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Fast Foodie: Tre Trattoria Downtown

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Photo: Steven Gilmore, License: N/A

Power up: Pan-seared gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce from Tre Trattoria Downtown.

San Antonio's serious chefs have always had a hard time with lunch. Tarred by the taco mentality, the dining public resists most attempts at ambition — along with prices above $10. And even that is pushing it. Yet some chefs are stubborn: they persist. Jason Dady is one of them, and his Power Lunch menu at Tre in the Fairmount pushes the envelope with a selection of cheffy-sounding pastas and a price of $12.50. The pastas, among them pan-seared gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce and tagliatelle with thyme and wild mushrooms, come with your choice of mixed greens or Caesar salad, and I can report that my plate of oak leaf lettuce was at least a leaf shy of being mixed. The tart, salty dressing was right on target, however, and sliced, ciabatta-like bread, presented with the now-knee-jerk olive oil dip, kept the sparse salad from seeming lonely.

But if the green(s) were modest, the plate of fettuccine with duck confit was munificent. I'm not sure what made the pasta's bread crumb topping "Tuscan," nor am I convinced by the appearance of crunchy corn, but the pulled confit shone through a creamy sauce enlivened by finely grated orange zest. (At least this is what I thought I tasted.) The pasta itself was, as way too many menus are wont to say, cooked to perfection. Beyond the Power Lunch selections, there are entrées and pizzas (from the city's first wood-burning display oven) in the $11-$16 range.

Given that there was a single waiter for much of the lunch hour, service was reasonably swift, suggesting that diners with time constraints could get in and out quickly. Those with more time to spare could take advantage of the restaurant's windows onto South Alamo Street and HemisFair Park; the passing parade rarely fails to entertain.

Tre Trattoria Downtown

401 S Alamo (210)

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