When this European chain with multiple locations throughout Spain and France was introduced in the U.S. last year, I was curious if this was their equivalent to our Olive Garden. Initial reviews of the pizzas were positive and photos of the interior reminded me of posh bistros in Italy, with rich burgundy leather banquettes and ornate gold trimmings.
However, after just a few short months, La Tagliatella’s midtown location abruptly closed. It was a bad omen for the brand.
Soon, I would find out for myself at a dinner hosted by the Association of Food Bloggers at the chain’s Emory Point location. We were met by the manager who seated our group at a table on the patio so we could enjoy the beautiful weather.
The first dish we sampled was Buffalo mozzarella and tomato carpaccio. Not quite a caprese, the platter was composed of fresh sliced mozzarella on a bed of grated tomatoes with basil and anchovies. Grating the tomatoes left the dish a bit watery, but the intensity of the anchovies provided a lovely contrast to the sublime cheese.
The manager stopped by to introduce himself and give us each a generous pour of wine, either the Canyon Road cabernet from California or the Ca’Del Sarto, a pinot grigio from Italy. Servers brought out La Tagliatella’s signature pizza, a super-thin cracker-like crust topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and thinly sliced fried eggplant. Once out of the oven, the pizza was drizzled with a balsamic glaze and topped with freshly shaved parmigiano-reggiano, a wonderful combination of sweet and salty flavors.
The next three dishes were filled pastas, each paired with a unique sauce. Mozzarella, tomato, and basil stuffed tortellone were served in a rich quattro formaggi sauce. The basil pesto was wonderfully herbacious, but overpowered by the sharp gorgonzola and pear filling in the pasta triangles. Although everyone agrees pasta should be cooked al dente’, the consensus among my neighbors at the table was that these were somewhat undercooked. Heart shaped pockets called cuore filled with butternut squash puree and served in a light cream sauce with tomatoes, pine nuts, and grana padano cheese, turned out to be my favorite of the trio.
Although our selections happened to be vegetarian, La Tagliatella also offers traditional Bolognese, carbonara, and signature sauces made with shrimp, Italian sausage, and pancetta. In addition to a variety of stuffed pastas, favorites like penne, linguine, and of course, tagliatelle, are available for diners to create their own classic Italian combination.
Despite the carb overload, everyone was excited when dessert arrived, a lovely square of bocconcino custard with a light and fluffy layer of cheesecake beneath it. Our Limoncello cordial mirrored the hint of citrus in the dessert’s crunchy crust.
This place has too much finesse to serve endless bowls of fettucine alfredo like one might expect at Olive Garden, but in a city with several certified authentic Neapolitan pizza places and neighborhood gems like BoccoLupo serving exceptional housemade pastas, the competition here promises to be fierce.
1540 Avenue Place at Emory Point 678-608-4210