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La Traviata—Favorite Items Besides the Bolognese (and Carbonara)?


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La Traviata—Favorite Items Besides the Bolognese (and Carbonara)?

MPH | | Jul 27, 2008 09:14 PM

I've been to La Traviata a few times this summer. There don't seem to be any recent threads devoted to LT, but the merits of their versions of bolognese sauce and their even more controversial—to some—carbonara have been discussed before. (Personally, I prefer the former to the latter.)

I was wondering, however, about the other items on the menu, the ones that I don't usually explore. How are the sandwiches that they serve at lunch? What about the appetizers? I've observed that their mixed-greens salad looks very fresh and is generously sized, but what about their other salads? How does their risotto compare to other versions in town? Does anyone prefer their "carne and pesce" plates to their pasta?

Here's my own brief chow report, based on recent visits with out-of-town visitors: The dishes that I would re-order are: the spaghetti alla bolognese [not perfect, but so far the best I’ve had in Austin], the seasonal appetizer of insalata caprese [the mozzarella and olive oil are very good, while the tomatoes are less so; in addition, their version includes capers and olives], and the dessert of orange-ricotta cheesecake [which actually tastes like orange and provides a smooth finish to the meal]. An older relative really enjoyed LT's version of chicken parmesan—with flavorful, fresh chicken that seemed hand-breaded and high-quality mozzarella—but didn't care for the sauce on the side of pasta. The lasagna bolognese was pretty good, but it is a comparatively small serving of pasta. I felt bad because this visitor finished eating way before anyone else and then left the restaurant hungry. The penne with spicy lamb meatballs was a “safe” choice, by which I mean on the bland side. The sauce was too sweet for my tastes; oddly, this pasta dish was served with a large dollop of cream on top. Another dining companion truly hated the spaghetti alla carbonara. On that day, I had to agree that the carbonara sauce was a heavy, oily, sloppy mess. This same visitor also didn't care for their dull, brownie-like chocolate dessert. (Neither do I.) The tiramisu didn't blow anyone away, but darned if someone didn't order it every time. I have mixed feelings about the prosciutto appetizer. The prosciutto they serve is fine, but I don't care for the pairing with endive, which I normally love, and sharp parmigiano reggiano: The flavor combo is too harsh and the textures don't marry. On two visits, LT over sauced the pasta dishes; on the third, it was sauced with a light hand. It was cooked al dente, however. I like the chewy bread that they serve with olive oil. I was told that it’s made in house.

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