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Arucola, Italian Osteria in Chevy Chase DC - Closing in Mar, 2019


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Yet another one we have tried a couple of times.

The setting is very decent with both indoor and outdoor seating areas.

The menu focuses on pizza, some Italian dishes, and some sandwiches.

Overall the food quality is hit or miss and I recommend the pizza over the rest of the food. That being said, the pizza at Arucola cannot carry the jock of both Comet and 2 Amys that are reasonably close.

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Overall the food quality is hit or miss and I recommend the pizza over the rest of the food. That being said, the pizza at Arucola cannot carry the jock of both Comet and 2 Amys that are reasonably close.

As it happens, I went here a few weeks ago with a crew of 20-somethings and one droll raconteur. (Otherwise known as: my creative writing professor took our class out to dinner.) Service was friendly and patient. The roast chicken was actually fairly tasty, if a smidge on the dry side. The rest of the entrees did seem fairly hit or miss, and a bit more expensive than I wanted to subject the prof to. The desserts were on a cart, and ended up being slightly more attractive than they were compelling. I ate about half of my dessert, but my prof somewhat guiltily finished it as it languished in front of me.

( I knew he would, though. He also uses my pens when I place them strategically on the conference table. )

I think the charm of Arucola lies in the fact that it is a long-standing neighborhood joint that can deal gracefully with all sorts of characters. Even a bunch of college students. It's not a destination, but I suspect their patrons wouldn't want it to be.

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Pleasantly surprised by last night's meal at Arucola.

Pastas were the fresh and appropriately al dente. Had a trio...some butternut squash ravioli, a spinach linguine with veal ragu, and tagliolini with garlic cloves crushed tomato and rapini. Each flavor was fresh and distinct. The butternut squash were not swimming in butter, but were lightly coated to the point of feeling rich and decadent. The filling was a bit too sweet, but turned out to be a nice counterpoint to the sharp garlic and slightly spicy rapini in the tagliolini. All the pastas held their sauces nicely. The ragu was rich and flavorful and correctly portioned.

Salad of greens with a balsamic dressing was about as simple as you can get (nothing on the plate other than the greens), but the greens were in good shape. No brown bits or slimy edges or any of that unappealing stuff. Dressing was emulsified, so it was thicker than a straight balsamic drizzle. Good flavor and not over dressed.

Anyhow...came in the with low expectations and this place totally outdid itself. Though 2Amys is three blocks from home and we're there more often than is reasonable, I'd consider the trip to Chevy Chase if struck by a craving for well executed pasta.

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The other reviews do this place a disservice. To say that it focuses on pizza and sandwiches, with "some Italian dishes" gets things completely backward. The Italian dishes are the main show. The best bet is the fish or seafood. I've had excellent grilled squid and swordfish, and the zuppa di pesce is reliably good. The service is good (most of the waiters have been there for years). Arucola may not be a "destination," but it's more than just a good neighborhood place.

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