Sherman's Food Adventures: Via Veneto

Via Veneto

*Restaurant is now closed*

Suddenly; yet not totally unexpected, Amarcord closed its doors in Yaletown last year. I'm not here to speculate why that happened; but if one was to read the many internet posts on this restaurant, it did have issues. Now, earlier this year, the former owner has re-opened as Via Veneto on Broadway. A little less expensive and a bit more casual, Vandelay and I wanted to see this new iteration. Well, this wasn't exactly on my radar; however, Vandelay was having a hard time suggesting a place for lunch since new options were dwindling. This location is not as "sexy" compared to Yaletown; but it is more accessible since there is validated parking at the back.

Before ordering, we were presented with a basket of Focaccia Bread. Sure, it's complimentary; but it was not very good. Dense, dry and bland, even the oil and balsamic couldn't save it. We ended up deciding to share 4 items starting with the classic Carpaccio all' Emiliana. Nothing Earth-shattering here but a solid attempt. The beef was buttery soft while the condiments of capers, fresh-shaved Parmesan, truffle oil and arugula did their job. A quick squirt of lemon made for a well-balanced flavour consisting of earthy, salty, tart, bitter and sweet (from the meat). As our other starter, we went for the Risotto ai Funghi e Pesto with wild mushrooms, parmigiano reggiano and pesto. Although it was quite creamy, it didn't completely "spread" as Vandelay put it. What he meant was that the risotto was slightly clumpy in places. For me, that didn't bother me too much since I found the texture to be fine. The rice was a bit past al dente though. Despite the good amount of mushrooms, there wasn't a whole lot of earthiness. It's quite possible that the cooking liquid was not a mushroom broth. We are forever spoiled by the one we had at Il Giardino.

For our mains, we shared the Spaghetti alla Vongole first. Consisting of al dente pasta with fresh BC Manila clams, garlic, white wine and fresh herbs, this was really good. There were pronounced hits of fresh clam nectar, onion and garlic which helped flavour the pasta. Perfectly executed with quality ingredients. The last dish was the Veal Paillard consisting of grilled milk-fed Veal scallopine with salsa verde. Once again, we were impressed with this offering. The hand-cut pieces of veal were meaty, moist and extremely tender. There was more than enough seasoning that the salsa verde was not necessary. I ended up using the sauce since it was a nice accent to the meat having a nice tang. The accompanying al dente penne was good being simply tossed in olive oil and garlic.

Pretty good. That's what Vandelay and I concluded from our lunch at Via Veneto. We did notice that service was cordial and attentive. Something that was not really a strong point in the old Amarcord. The restaurant itself is configured slightly strange due to the restrictions of the room. Therefore, the entrance is a bit random and sudden, where tables are immediately to the right. However, they have done a good job in renovating the place to make it pleasing and classy. Considering the reasonable pricing (for lunch at least), the quality and overall execution of the food, there was not a whole lot to complain about. Granted, that dinner menu is pricier; but if lunch is any indication, Via Veneto is a good option for Italian eats along Broadway.

The Good:
- Generally solid execution for the dishes we tried
- Attentive service
- Pleasing decor

The Bad:
- Dinner pricing is on the higher side
- Portions are a bit small

Via Veneto on Urbanspoon

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