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La Strada, Owner Stephen Scott Jr's Italian in Del Ray - Closed


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Our very good friends have invited us to dinner at what they say is a new Italian restaurant in Del Ray -- of course we're going, but does anyone know anything about a place like this?

It's La Strada

I've eatent here once so far, but wanted to go another time before starting a thread (feel free to start). La Strada is located on Mt. Vernon Ave in the space formerly occupied by Los Amigos. Chef Stephen Scott owns it, and along with his family, serves seasonal Northern Italian fare a la carte as well as family style. La Strada serves brunch on Sundays.

There is a large wine selection by the glass (I'd love to hear opinions about the list since I'm not a wine afficianado-I just drink it :lol: ), and a communal table.

The food was a bit hit and miss. Mine was a hearty and huge portion of one of my favorite standbys; veal saltimboca. Two large pouned medallions of veal which was fragrant with rosemary and made rich with cheese, ham and a deep sauce. I had a contorni of rabe. It made for dinner, and lunch the next day since Mr. MV and I share primi of frito misto. It was lightly breaded with large pieces of calamari and scallops. Very filling. Two big thumbs up for these.

Mr. MV didn't fare as well with his spaghetti and meatballs. The pasta was cooked beyond al dente and the meatballs, while soft, large and looking like something your Nona handmade, was underseasoned which just made it fall short. More parm and more salt and it would have been terrific. The dish has lots of potential.

Be sure to report back!

** La Strada offers take out and plans to offer cooking classes and wine dinners.

eta: we tried to get in shortly after they opened, on a Friday night, and they were slammed. We waited a week or two and we were able to get seated right away. The service had no glitches at all.

La Strada also has outdoor seating for 15 or so.

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We tried it out a week ago and found it to be hit and miss, as well. The lady's gnocchi were . . . interesting. The gnocchi themselves were fantasic, airy and pillowy soft. However, the sauce was strange. Actually tasted like my mostly vinegar and ketchup homemade bbq sauce. Too too too tangy and with a weird citrus flavor.

I also had the spaghetti and meatballs. Unlike Monovano's, my meatballs themselves were awesome. However, the sauce, different from the gnocci sauce, was watery and the pasta was overcooked. At $16, this was no bargain, either.

For what it's worth, it seems to be pretty busy.

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My former partners in crime were once again in town, so we headed to La Strada for dinner last night...

We started off with the Frito Misto for the table. The calamari were excellent, the lemons (cut into thin wedges which still contained seeds) were good and the scallops were just okay -- well cooked, but a tad fishy tasting.

rwtye & I each had a salad and the server was thoughtful enough to ask if we wanted it with the appetizer or afterwards. I found this a nice touch since our dining companions were not partaking of any greens and having the salads arrive simultaneously with the app. kept our friends from sitting around food-less while we ate. I had the arugula salad that did seem a little overpriced for a rather simply-dressed pile of arugula with a bit of radicchio and some parmesan. rwtye had the Caesar and it was definitely under-dressed and therefore lacking in flavor overall.

For mains, the jet-lagged TT and The Other Rob shared the family-sized Linguine Frutti di Mare. As with the scallops in the Frito Misto, the seafood was simply not quite to the level of freshness that our table of fish-picky Californians/Hawaiians prefers. Certainly not bad and the spicy (!) tomato sauce combined with well-cooked pasta mitigated it into a decent dish.

rwtye and I ordered the Gnocchi alla Bolognese & the Penne alla Puttanesca and swapped plates midway through. The penne dish was a very good and was not overly acerbic as many renditions of puttanesca tend toward. And we pretty much felt the opposite from Cooter in regards to the gnocchi -- we liked the sauce (esp. the hint of warm spiciness... clove? nutmeg? both?) but the gnocchi, while light, tasted a little water-logged last night.

Service was very sincere and friendly, with the only complaint being that our server asked us with our salads if we'd like freshly ground pepper and then with the pasta if we'd like freshly ground parmesan, and both times walked away, got busy with her other tables and apparently forgot about the promised toppings. Luckily, rwtye knows the international hand signal for "bring the pepper grinder!" and one of the food runners noticed our deficiency of parmesan and came to our rescue. But these are only minor quibbles and the type of service snafu which I imagine will totally disappear as they settle in to things.

Most everything on the menu can be ordered either "solo" or "familigia" with the difference being ~33% increase in price for what appears to be 50% more food, so it is definitely the better deal to share the family-sized portions. $130 for four of us: 1 family app., 2 solo salads, 1 family pasta, 2 solo pastas, 1 dessert (hazelnut/chocolate gelato), 2 beers, 1 fancy Italian lemonade and 1 glass of chianti.

At this point, I probably would not drive across town to eat at La Strada, but it is a nice addition to the neighborhood and I hope they'll only continue to improve. We will definitely go back and try them again.

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Tried La Strada in Delray on Monday night and was impressed with the two entrees we ordered...very good homemade "angel hair" (more like very thin, firm spaghetti) with wild mushrooms and truffle oil..a very earthy dish, in a good way...also a great pounded veal chop milanese with arugula and tomato...very sweet tasting veal and nicely flavored crust. Good service.

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I've been three times and always loved it but this last time on Tuesday was less impressive. First impressions were built on PEI mussels in fantastic broth. The housemade bread (and pastas and sauces) were essential with this. The veal and veggie ravioli is very rich but delicious - the mushrooms really come through. The fish of the day is always a good bet. I've had halibut and tuna steaks and they were really great. I loved the lamb- perfectly rosy and so pretty. The scallops were also expertly cooked - not rubbery! The salads and desserts are also fine. I ordered the shrimp dish this last time and while my four huge shrimps were perfectly cooked, it came in this tomato-caper sauce that was a little thin and brothy and I wasn't sure if it was a soup or not (I wasn't given a spoon with the dish) and it just felt like something was missing. The lovely outdoor space is wonderful though. Service was very good.

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Went last night and had great saltimbocca, the sage leaves were tiny and thankfully did not cover the whole piece of veal because those bites were kind of harshly sagey. The fennel salad was delish, though the promised pomegranate seemed to be missing. Someone else ordered the ravioli - with both meat and mushrooms and they were outstanding - and someone else ordered the halibut with blueberry sauce which was quite odd. The halibut was on a bed of cucumbers and something else, and the elements really didn't mesh. The blueberry sauce looked like pie filling. Just odd.

We had a great Chianti, I think it was Buonanno - I knew I should have written it down. Very smooth.

The outdoor seating area is spacious and accommodates 25-30, but I think the fence in the back separates you from the trash area. As soon as our hot food was served we were besieged by bugs. We were at the back right next to said fence, but I noticed people seated right next to the sidewalk doing the same thing. They need to spray or something.

How could I forget the sides? The polenta was decadent, so creamy and light. The sauteed spinach had slivers of garlic. Cooked just enough - so often I find it overcooked.

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Understand but at the same time I have to wonder on pure speculation what happened overall. They made some slight inerior adjustmenst to the place after they opened and again have to wonder if doing two side by side one robbed bsuiness away from the other. The only observation I took away were that the prices were very high (understood cosnidering the market value of that property) as well the food was ok, but missing something. I wish the other location great success.

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