1905 Mount Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22301
PRICE $$ ($13-$20)
HOURS Open for dinner daily, brunch Saturday and Sunday.
NVM AWARDS Best Restaurant 2008
Best Restaurant 2009
Best Restaurant 2010
Best Restaurant 2011
Best Restaurant 2012
NEARBY METRO None
SPECIAL FEATURESAccepts Credit Cards
By Warren Rojas
Food: 8.0 Ambience: 7.3 Service: 7.3
Now that La Strada chef/owner Stephen Scott has carved up his menu into easy-to-digest solo and famiglia-sized portions, it’s quite commonplace to spot patrons economizing by splitting a dish here and there.
What surprised me was the nuclear family that hedged their bets by sharing salads and convincing their young’uns to feast on the same noodles, but then turned around and splurged on a bottle of their favorite Chianti.
La Strada’s Italo-centric wine list is certainly worthy of deliberate examination, offering up gems from Puglia, Piemonte and other unheralded areas of the peninsula.
Fried eggplant and roasted bell peppers headline a “sandwich” bolstered by buttery prosciutto, milky mozzarella, fresh basil and bitter greens.
Veal ravioli are graced by a magnetic black truffle-wine reduction complemented by freshly shaved Parmesan.
Cappuccino-flavored custard dotted with summer berries walks the line between naughtily rich and refreshingly light.(November 2009)
By Warren Rojas
Food: 7.5 Ambiance: 7.1 Service: 6.9
I respect the community ties La Strada chef/owner Stephen Scott has worked so hard to forge with his Del Ray neighbors.
But I’m pretty sure we could all do without the community theater sprung upon the establishment’s unsuspecting diners when a manager decided to dress down an exasperated crew member mid-dinner rush (next time, do the disciplining out of earshot, please).
When not embroiled in family-style spats, staff tends to fare just fine.
One server wisely offered a gratis sweet to smooth over a bumpy outing (much obliged). Another offered well-informed suggestions to guests looking to break free from a Chianti rut.
Rustic Italian bread provides the perfect canvas for a masterpiece of poached eggs and tomato-mushroom ragout, the spilled yolks and wine-braised ‘shrooms baptizing everything in heavenly flavors.
Forthright bacon and cracked black pepper do their best to sway juicy pork their way, but the swine still smacks of hazelnuts courtesy of a concentrated amaretto sauce (broccoli rabe adds some bitter to the complex, comfort food trio).
Cannolis stuffed with mixed berries sing of summer.(November 2008)
By Warren Rojas
Food: 8.1 Ambiance: 7.4 Service: 7.1
The space is so small and the business so new, that the waiter thrusts out his hand and offers a booming, “So nice to see you again,” the minute I walk through the front door.
Truth is, I’m just as happy to be back at La Strada—an encore performance for chef/owner Stephen Scott in the neighborhood Italian category (Argia’s was his most recent community dining venture) that’s taken root amongst a revitalized Del Ray.
The quaint establishment boasts a patio and just over a dozen cozy tables sprinkled about the main dining room.
Daily specials often include intimate touches like garden-fresh tomatoes (grown out back) and homemade mozzarella.
An all-encompassing fritto misto turns up deep-fried squid, octopus and even lemons, all liberally sea salted (adds both crunch and zip). Crusty, cubed bread serves as the high-fiber foundation of a salad replete with seared scallops, vinegar-soaked peppers (hot and sweet), red onions, diced tomatoes and capers. Saltimbocca yields veal cutlets wrapped in baked prosciutto, all submerged in puddles of sage, butter and white wine (bellissimo!).