My husband and I went to La Viola Friday night, a new Italian BYOB on 16th street between Locust and Spruce.
The room is small and simple, but warm and cozy with dim lighting. The crowd was 30s-50s and well dressed (cashmere mock turtlenecks on the men, women in pretty tops and black slacks). Not the "see and be seen" crowd, but the "we eat well" crowd.
Our waiter, Dominic, listed the specials with a glint in his eye and a "Wait till you try this one" expression. In additional to the large menu they had about 4 main course specials, more choices than I expected in such a small place.
I had a salad special with baby spinach, artichoke hearts, tomatoes and goat cheese, with an interesting light lemon dressing. I think this same dressing comes on all their salads.
My husband had the lobster bisque, which he thought was creamy, flavored well, but unexceptional.
For main course I had the spinach and ricotta gnocchi with a thick red sauce that sat on top of the pasta, and small bits of ricotta salata sprinkled on top. The gnocchi were light and flavorful and it was a nice size portion.
My husband had the orrechiette (sp?) pasta with chicken and sausage. He enjoyed it, especially the sauce which had a strong mushroom broth flavor
with white wine and garlic.
For dessert, he had the tiramisu, which did not have the strong espresso bite of the one at Mr. Martinos, but was still very good. However, there was too
much whipped cream on top, overpowering the
marscapone inside. I didn't have dessert because I had my heart set on a ricotta cheesecake but they were out.
The price was very reasonable: The total came to $40.