Tuesday, August 19, 2008

tavolata tasty vittles

nb: i just gorged myself at an office (pagliacci) pizza party. i really think being uncomfortably full is the only way i can write about all the delicious food i ate the other night at tavolata without getting pissed that i'm not there right now.

i've always wanted to visit tavolata since hearing about their polenta fries (now RIP, i think) served until 2am. don't get me wrong; i don't like polenta fries, i effing LOVE them. unfortunately since tavolata's opening in late 06/early 07, the polenta fries have been axed off the menu.

the space is great. it's a reasonably narrow, slightly industrial space (cement walls w exposed iron bracing) lit by clear glass globe lights dangling from the ceiling like champagne bubbles. the tavola grande running the length of the room's center is inviting and home-y.

ps, i esp like the water carafe brought to every table.

we started with the spiced olives as an appetizer. out came two white, claw foot bathtub-shaped dishes - one with black and green olives and one for the pits. lovely.

also standard were the bread (crusty and chewy) and olive oil. as you can see, the oil to bread ratio was out of whack, but i wasn't complaining. i love a piece of bread completely submerged in olive oil like a sponge. m noted that he would have liked some salt/pepper/chili flake additive in the oil, but i wasn't mad at that.

our second appetizer was the octopus salad. OMG!!! i don't even remember reading the entire menu description of dish, but it was grilled, cool octopus cut into bite-sized pieces tossed with cannelini, minimal red pepper, flat leaf parsley, lemon, salt, and pepper. this was my runaway favorite dish of the night. the octopus had the most delectable, densely-meaty texture of any seafood i've ever eaten. also, the portion was enough for the two of us to have a couple + servings. i can't even describe how great this salad was. if i worked in the area, i would come here at least once a week for happy hour just to devour it.

the table next to us full of pretentious d-bags who couldn't stop talking about how much money they spend on wine/trips/life and who kept referring to co-owner/chef ethan stowell as "ethan" also ordered this salad. for some reason one of the aholes complained, "This neither has the taste nor texture of octopus." i don't know why he would be complaining, unless he really enjoys the tough, chewy, sandy, rotten ocean taste of poorly-prepared octopus. eff you, d-bag!

m savored his liguine with mussels in a simple garlic, white wine, and parsley sauce as if it were his last meal. the mussels were huge but not gross (it happens!), tender, and perfectly briny. the pasta was well-cooked and housemade, btw, as are all their pastas. i say "housemade" since all are handmade except for shapes like rigatoni, which must be extruded by machine.

lastly, i ordered the conghilie (shell pasta) with squid and polpi (tiny octopi) in a bright, simple tomato sauce. the pasta was awesome...i love a thick, toothy pasta like conghilie or orchiette, and it was the right shape to pick up chunks of tomato and calamari rings. the only element my dish lacked was more fresh parsley. i love parsley, so maybe my preference is a little heavy-handed compared to most diners, but damn. every bite i ate that had a couple leaves of parsley on it was the best.

i highly recommended tavolata to anyone seeking a fresh, delicious italian meal. it's not cheap, but it's not as pricey as, say assagio. the menu is brief (as i like it), and they offer several desserts if you're into that (which i am). unfortunately we were in a little bit of a hurry to catch a movie, and i was insanely full. otherwise i would've had an espresso, if not an affogato.

Everyday: 5PM to Midnight
Reservations are accepted for parties of six or more...otherwise it’s first-come first-serve.

2323 Second Avenue
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 838.8008

Tavolata on Urbanspoon


Suge White said...

I really enjoyed that meal. It was pretty simple and tasty and it would probably only be better if it were cheaper.

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