Everything I had read about Via Carota mentioned that they do things with vegetables that could make any meat lover reconsider their values. Don’t think of it as a vegetarian restaurant – there is plenty of meat and fish on the menu. It’s just that the vegetables are given true attention rather than serving as a bed for a piece of chicken.
The space is rustic like the Italian countryside with lots of farm tables and lights hanging from rakes on the ceiling. I was a big fan of the chairs, which featured little cubbies on the back for menus and racks underneath for purses. It’s simple, just like the food – none of which are made with a bunch of ingredients.
We started with a crostini special made with figs and caramelized onion. I’m not usually a fan of sweet things masquerading as savory, but I actually enjoyed it. After that, we got an order of burrata that was paired with ratatouille vegetables, scallops over succotash, and the fava bean salad. All of it: good. The scallops were cooked perfectly. Oh so perfectly. Burrata is always good and when served with hearty vegetables doesn’t require bread. The salad was simple with lettuce, a red wine vinaigrette, and shaved parmesan. But simple is what you want so that you can really enjoy fava beans, which are only around for a short season.
We were doing everything family style rather than ordering our own entrées, so next up was two orders of pasta. We got the tagliatelle with prosciutto and peas. It was tossed with nothing more than butter, but it was that good, rich butter that approached creamy territory. We also got the pappardelle with wild boar ragu. I liked that the ragu was not sauce with some meat. It was meat (almost like short ribs) piled on top of pasta with only enough tomato sauce to keep it from being dry. The pasta itself was fresh and delicious.
Finally, we ordered steak (prime rib) that was nice and peppery with a ton of fat just glistening on there. It was good, but I was more impressed by the super skinny string beans that came with it. They were practically unadorned, but they were wonderful. I’ve never enjoyed a string bean so much. I can’t believe I just typed that sentence.
As expected, I was very impressed by the delicious veggies at Via Carota. It’s proof that simple and classic can be better.