Wednesday, January 16, 2008
314 Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78701
Since Miss Jane (our outgoing wine instructor from Cork and Co.) was also a trained chef, I sought her professional opinion on top places to eat around town. I was looking for some guidance on where to get a risotto to dampen the next day’s impending hangover, as well as a few suggestions for the blog. She gave a few suggestions around town. One suggestion was La Traviata, just two doors down from Cork and Co.
Mariah and I wandered down to La Traviata. The dining room was stone-walled and the bar was painted a lively red. The place was small, not accommodating for many, so on Fridays or Saturdays you would expect to wait or make reservations. The menu choices were plentiful. Although, we were a little put off by the $4 split plate charge.
I chose the butternut squash risotto, and Mariah picked the fennel soup. We munched on bread and olive oil/balsamic vinegar as we waited for our food. The olive oil/balsamic vinegar was a little heavy on the pungent vinegar, leaving the experience a little overwhelming.
Our food arrived and we began the tasting. Unfortunately, my butternut squash risotto left much to be desired. Mariah described it as your aunt’s typical Thanksgiving cheese and rice casserole. I likened it more to soupy, cheesy, butternut squash rice. The peas scattered across it added to the Thanksgiving Day casserole-esque quality rather than providing any sort of enhancement. Sadly, the knot of chives and lump of cream/butter on top did not save it either. As much as I tried to like it, I just couldn’t.
Mariah’s fennel soup did not impress either. Bland, thin and boring, with a bit of oil on top. The salt she added improved it slightly.
We decided it wasn’t worth the calories and left our food half uneaten.
The waitress was nice. Like at Vin Bistro, we think she knew the food was quite crap too.
The whole experience was just plain disappointing. Perhaps a larger selection of menu items needs to be sampled at La Traviata, but it will take a lot of convincing to get me to return.
Laura - 4