Monday, November 30, 2009

La Strada Was "La Clunker"

We found ourselves downtown for Public Square's Winterfest on Saturday evening, and after the tree lighting and fireworks we started to wander down East 4th in search of food and drinks. Of course The Greenhouse Tavern didn't have any openings for 1.5 hours (do you blame them? I don't! It's fantastic.). So we stumbled into La Strada, owned by Terry Tarantino who also operates La Dolce Vita in Little Italy.

I vaguely remember reading a review in The Plain Dealer about how dimly lit the restaurant was- and they were spot on! "R" even commented that they must save a lot of money on their electric bill (what a jokester he is). Once we got over the lighting situation, I started to take in the place. The seating arrangement is a little odd, with the focus being on the classic black and white movies playing through a projector onto the main wall of the restaurant. Is anyone really watching while they eat? It boasts that it is a "Mediterranean bistro", but I really think that it was an excuse to decorate by slapping up random wall decor (ex. tribal mask next to our table) and lots of candles. I certainly did not feel "transported to the streets of Rome, Barcelona, and Athens" as their website claims. Trust me, I've been there.

I ordered the Fettuccine Fellini with gorgonzola in a tomato cream sauce ($18). When the dish arrived, I was severely disappointed in the presentation. The noodles were drenched in a pale pink sauce close to the shade of the pasta, and the dish was seriously lacking some garnish. The whole plate just looked bland. The sauce wasn't bad after I made sure that each bite had a substantial amount on it, and the noodles were clearly home-made. A vegetable or something else to add a little color to the plate would have gone a long way in my eyes. Overall, it was just ok. "R" tried the Vagabondo pizza with spinach, tomato, red pepper, red onion, kalamata olive, french feta, and mozzarella ($11). The crust was so thin that it cracked and crumbled as you bit into it, and the pizza was lacking any sauce or a desired amount of cheese. He was pretty disappointed in his selection.

While I am glad that we finally tried La Strada, I can't see us going back with so many wonderful options popping up on East 4th.

La Strada
2050 East 4th Street
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 861-3663

La Strada on Urbanspoon


alexa @clevelandsaplum said...

oh that's sad! i always have such good meals everytime i go there.

Bite Buff said...

Well maybe we just need to meet up for happy hour there sometime and I'll try it again! :) I was so disappointed. I was really looking forward to trying it.

Nicole @ Sprinkle with Salt said...

just discovered your blog, it's great! bummer about La Strada...and just fyi, you can now make resservations for The Greenhouse Tavern on Opentable :)

Bite Buff said...

Thanks Nicole! I'm glad that you like it. Good to know about GHT. I've only been once and looking forward to going back. I love Opentable!

AS said...


Beau Cadiyo

Foodie said...

La Strada recently revamped their kitchen and menu - much better than before, and it seems to fit the theme a little better. Give it another shot!

Bite Buff said...

It has since closed.