Sherman's Food Adventures: Tavola

Tavola

After sampling 12 different popsicles at Popbar at Metropolis, one would thing that we'd had enough eats for a little while. However, it was more like dessert prior to dinner for Emily and Kim.  Yes, we ended up doing the reverse and traveled into Downtown for dinner.  The place?  A neighbourhood Italian eatery named Tavola, which also happens to be the sister restaurant of Nook (around the corner on Denman).

Served on the house, we had the Salami Tasting with burrata, olives, sweet peppers and crostinis.  In addition to the 3 types of salami, there was some prosciutto and sliced parm thrown in as well.  When we were looking over the menu, we decided to go big or go home with the 24 oz. Bone-in Ribeye Steak.  At $75.00 we were expecting to be blown away.  Well, that didn't happen as the steak was more medium than medium-rare.  Now with that being said, it was still tender and nicely charred on the outside.  The meat was well-seasoned and accompanied by a really good salsa verde.  However, to me, the salsa verde was more of a chimichurri with hand-chopped flat leaf parsley, garlic and mint.  It added a flavourful brightness.

For our pastas, we went for 3 including the daily feature being the Malfalda with braised beef cheeks, roasted root veggies, mushrooms and ciopolini onions.  These lasagna-like noodles were firmly al dente and held up well to the moisture.  They were properly seasoned which meant they tasted good on their own.  Additionally, the tartness of the onions combined with the woodsiness of the mushrooms added some umaminess to the pasta.  The use of the braising liquid also further enhanced the meatiness of the dish.  As for the beef cheeks, they were tender and not dried-out.  This was probably my second favourite pasta behind the Paccheri with pulled pork ragu.  The large pasta tubes were appealingly chewy without being heavy.  It was caressed by a rich ragu that featured tender pork in a mildly tart sauce that was aggressively salted.

Our last pasta was the Casarecce with with pork & fennel meatballs, tomatoes and rapini.  I found this pasta a bit less firm than the previous 2, but hardly soft.  The sauce was definitely tomatoey with the strong fennel influence of the tender meatballs.  I liked the crunch of the rapini as it added both texture and the necessary green veggie to balance the heaviness of the meatballs.  So if you have been paying attention, it is pretty clear the pastas were on point and tasty.  We weren't so sure with the ribeye steak though, especially for $75.00.

*Salami tasting was complimentary*

The Good:
- On point pastas
- Casual homey atmosphere
- Focused menu

The Bad:
- Not sure if the steak was worth it   

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