Here’s another guest post from my friend Christina over at Postcards from Christina on her recent visit to La Strada.
Personally, I haven’t been to this newer restaurant yet and have heard mix reviews. I will go at some point – one so I can judge for myself, and two because I like to check out and support our independent restaurants at least once (plus the atmosphere sounds fantastic). I will admit though that I’m not a huge fan of La Dolce Vita (same owner). I’ve always found the food to be just okay; however, I love sitting on their sidewalk in the summer with a glass of wine and dessert to people watch – simple great atmosphere (and Jamie and I had a great night there when we first started dating).
E. Fourth’s newest addition, La Strada, (same owner as La Dolce Vita) opened about eight weeks ago for lunch. My first visit was shortly after it first opened, and I really enjoyed the meal and atmosphere. Unfortunately, a return visit today left a bad taste in my mouth from very slow service coupled with an overly attentive owner.
Recently a co-worker and I sampled the wedding soup, bruschetta, chicken kabob and scampi risotto. The wedding soup was good, albeit a bit salty. I enjoyed the escarole that was crispy and soft in all the right places. The chicken kabob had great flavor (but slightly undercooked veggies) and was accompanied by yummy fregole (Italian toasted pasta). The bruschetta was tasty, and I liked that it included avocado and cilantro in addition to fresh tomato chunks. The scampi risotto was also a little salty, but had a nice saffron essence.
Once we were seated, we waiting patiently for 15 minutes before approaching the hostess with a request for a server. Once greeted, our server apologized for our wait and offered us complimentary bruschetta. A few minutes later, the owner asked how we were enjoying our experience, and we mentioned the delay. He began profusely apologizing and returned to our table four additional times to check in. At first, we appreciated his sincerity, but then his visits became intrusive as he was a bit over the top with apologies and we kept losing track of our conversation because of the interruptions. At the end of our meal, our server also offered dessert on the house, but we politely declined since we had already overstayed our lunch hour. We did accept his offer of rosewater for our hands, which he mentioned is a Morrocan tradition.
Regarding the décor, La Strada’s space is fantastic, but unfortunately, the glass doors/window hide the interior from the street. The layout reminds me of Foreign Cinema in San Francisco since this restaurant also projects an old movie with subtitles on the wall. The upstairs has theater-style bar seats so diners can catch glimpses of the movie while they sip drinks from the massive bar area below.
The restaurant is open for lunch during the week, and dinner is served Monday through Saturday.