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Restaurants & Bars 3

Great meal at La Strada in Palo Alto

ChewToy | Dec 28, 200412:24 AM

We've been semi-regulars at this place on University Ave. for a while now and the meal we had tonight was indicative of why we keep going back.

For starters, we shared grilled shrimp with braised arugula and farro. The shrimp were pan fried and just crispy, served complete with heads. The arugula was just warmed through with a splash of lemon and the farro was the textural element that brought the whole thing together. Very yummy.

Next was the "Casonsei." These ravioli, shaped more like pot stickers, are filled with ground, house-made, amaretto-infused Italian sausage and are topped with an incredible sauce of brown butter, crispy-fried sage and guancale (crispy pork jowl). Pure heaven. You'll be asking your waiter to replenish your bread-basket to get every last drop of sauce. A truly inspired creation.

Finally, the Petrale sole, steamed in parchment paper with tomatoes, basil, olives, caper berries, Israeli couscous, and a pinch of hot chili flakes. You cut open the browned paper and get a full whiff of the steam and then cut into the tender sole. The juices are intensely favorful but do not overpower the fish. Again, wonderful.

We split all three of these items and the tab was only $40 before tip. The staff are very friendly and, if you can, grab a seat at the bar in front of the open kitchen to watch the action. Word to the wise - try to get yourself there on a weeknight. The attention to detail seems to suffer a bit on busy Fridays and Saturdays.


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