The updated menu from chef Fendert includes a Tratto burger, duck confit, minestrone soup, and an orecchiette pasta. (Photo by Hannah Thornhill)

Celebrated chef Ola Fendert takes the helm at Union Square's Tratto

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The new year brings a new chef at Tratto, where the team has recently announced a fresh toque at the helm of the rustic trattoria kitchen.

Chef Ola Fendert, a native Swede, sharpened his skills while working with some of the city's best; his resume includes roles on the opening teams of the cherished Chez Papa and Chez Maman restaurants, as well as at Scala's Bistro, where he performed directly under Donna Scala.


Now chef Fendert is commanding an artful revamp of the menu at Tratto, utilizing local and seasonal ingredients and a clever blending of cuisines in dishes such as duck confit with celery root tortellini, cauliflower, fried Brussels sprout leaves, sage, and garlic; pan-seared salmon with leeks, salmon roe, black olive puree, and fermented garlic aioli; baby octopus with popcorn polenta, chili oil, and gremolata; and orecchiette with broccolini, broccoli pesto, Calabrian chili, parmesan, and breadcrumbs.

A seasoned Bay Area gourmand, Fendert says, "I think success beyond the kitchen starts with humility in your leadership style. The ingredients we work with here extend beyond what shows up on the plates our of guests. I hope to amplify a little of that welcoming Italian graciousness at our corner in Union Square."

Tratto's winter cocktails—such as the FCO -> OAX (far left)—promise to keep you warm.(Photo by Hannah Thornhill)

The menu is complemented by the restaurant's popular cocktail program, where beverage director Cynthia Tran crafts bold and original cold-weather libations like the Kingston Toddy, with Smith & Cross rum, Brovo No. 1, orange, and spiced honey; Green in Winter, with strawberry-pineapple-green tea-infused vodka, Cappaletti, lemon, and elderflower liqueur; and FCO -> OAX, a Mexican-inspiration variation on a Negroni with Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Cynar, and mole bitters.

Also this month, chef Fendert introduces new dishes to the brunch menu including a 63-degree-egg breakfast pizza; cannelloni with ricotta and Italian sausage; and a mushroom and swiss chard frittata.

Follow Tratto on Instagram for updates on an exciting collaboration coming in March with longtime restaurant partner, Mr. Espresso, including coffee infusions in your glass and on the plate.

// Tratto, 501 Geary St. (Union Square), tratto-sf.com; reservations are available at opentable.com.

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