Hyesoon and I decided to get out of our usual neighborhoods and try something different. I'd watched some Italian cooking on Anthony Bourdain's show last night, so I was primed for Italian. We headed to la Tavola in the heart of Virginia Highlands. The atmosphere is elegant and upscale but also very lively and fun.
The menu has a lot of traditional Italian fare---they are, for example, the only Atlanta restaurant I've come across that has broccoli rabe---but quite a few of their dishes also have a modern twist. This is a beet and peach salad. It's served with some lightly cooked onioin and a very light vinegar sauce. The peaches were served firm, which I found a little surprising. But overall the dish was exquisite and totally unexpected. All the flavors were very subtle but definitely there.
I had the veal saltimbocca and some tagliatelle bolognese. Saltimbocca is another dish that is relatively hard to find in Atlanta. I've always enjoyed the contrast between the mild veal and the strong preparation; La Tavola's was excellent. The bolognese was very simple and subtle, just as Tony Bourdain and his guests advocated last night.
Hyesoon let me try her sausage and clams. The sausage was just like everything else---flavorful but subtle. It was served over polenta, a great complement to the sausage in both flavor (pork and corn are perfect together as every Southerner knows) and texture.