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DaRiv18

Osteria al Volo and Cucina al Volo - Homemade Pasta Chain in Numerous DC and Baltimore Locations

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On 10/6/2017 at 10:18 AM, Tweaked said:

Ripple space to become Cucina Al Volo

That would be my #1 option (YMMV) in Cleveland Park, then.  Great news for Cleveland Park!

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18 hours ago, DaRiv18 said:

That would be my #1 option (YMMV) in Cleveland Park, then.  Great news for Cleveland Park!

There seems to be a difference between Osteria al Volo and Cucina al Volo, and I'm still not certain which of the two is opening in Cleveland Park. 

If you look at their website, the only Osteria al Volo is in the former Pasta Mia space, but there are many locations of Cucina al Volo, including two in Baltimore, and one coming to Ballston Mall.

Am I correct in guessing that the Osteria is a full-blown restaurant that also sells items for the home, and that the Cucina is mostly a market that also sells pre-made ready-made meals? Do the Cucinas have any tables where a customer can sit down and eat? If not, they would go in the Shopping and Cooking Forum.

It caught me off-guard realizing how many locations of Cucina al Volo exist.

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4 hours ago, DonRocks said:

There seems to be a difference between Osteria al Volo and Cucina al Volo, and I'm still not certain which of the two is opening in Cleveland Park. 

If you look at their website, the only Osteria al Volo is in the former Pasta Mia space, but there are many locations of Cucina al Volo, including two in Baltimore, and one coming to Ballston Mall.

Am I correct in guessing that the Osteria is a full-blown restaurant that also sells items for the home, and that the Cucina is mostly a market that also sells pre-made ready-made meals? Do the Cucinas have any tables where a customer can sit down and eat? If not, they would go in the Shopping and Cooking Forum.

It caught me off-guard realizing how many locations of Cucina al Volo exist.

The Cucina is mostly a food stand, there is a table next to its booth and it is not clear to me it is for their exclusive use (I doubt it).   I wouldn't characterize it as pre-made meals, usually you have  to wait for about 10 minutes for them to prepare your pasta.   I would say Takorean or Chipotle are closer to pre-made meals then what they do.  They do sell jars of pesto and other sauces for take-home, as well as fresh pasta.  I'd be surprised if those items makes up more than 15% of their sales.  

I actually have never been to the Osteria, so maybe I should temper my enthusiasm!  But these are hearty meals for under $20/plate, as compared to Sfoglina which is the closest credible pasta shop.  

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A early visit shows that they are still getting their sea legs when it comes to service. The food also has a way to go before it reaches the quality we expect at the Union Market outpost. That said, it seems like a comfortable space and they were plenty busy for a Wednesday night. I think I would have rather made my own pasta at home, or taken the fam to Sfoglina, than had our meal here this day. But the meat pastas were a hit at our table, whereas the app, secondi  and desserts were all minor misses. But eventually they will do very well here. 

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Trattoria Al Volo in Cleveland Park in the old Ripple space is a very welcome addition to the neighborhood. It is still working out some slow service kinks but overall food is rather good, prices are on point for the neighborhood, and service is very friendly.  The homemade pastas and sauces are very good quality and tasty - this is consistent at their Cucinia at Union Market, Osteria in Admo, and in this locations - all of which in the past year I've tried several times (mostly in anticipation of this new place opening near my house). The menus at all of the vary somewhat and the current menu at the CP location seems to fluctuate slightly each time that I've gone (3 times so far in the past 2 months).  They seem to do best with the ravioli/mezzaluna/stuffed pastas which are the most flavorful and for an added bit of fun, can be seen being made in real time in one part of the dining room.  Instead of an open kitchen, they have a window ledge where a nice gentleman is busy assembling raviolis much to the delight of the kids and foodies. The caesar salad is presented nicely and is a bit non-traditional but very good. Burrata and tomatos was only ok. Friends liked the big plate of calamari. The meatballs are all beef (good for non-pork eaters like my family) but only ok.  The only secondi I've had is the branzino daily fish which was large and delicious - simple whole cooked fish with lemon and herbs. The various meat options look huge and enough to share for 2. Which is the overall vibe of these place - good quality, nicely made food but nothing too fancy and also priced a bit less than fancier places.  Portions are also on the larger size. Overall a good neighborhood restaurant, not a foodie destination. The several reds and whites I've tried by the glass have been good (I'm not too fussy about wine though FWIW) including a surprisingly good house red. Desserts are mostly a bunch of different rotating cakes that they told me are made on the off hours by a pastry chef at a restaurant in town. I've only tried 2 of the chocolate cakes and both were like everything else well-made, tasty.  Two dishes I had that were only ok - a bit bland - rigatoni with mushrooms and the manticotti (too much mozzarella cheese without enough flavor). The only real hiccup has been that on 2 of the 3 times we went there has been a rather long wait between apps and entrees. I think they are still figuring out their timing in the kitchen. Overall, if they fix this last issue, they'll have a very successful run here (hopefully).

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