Volterra – Italian – Seattle (Ballard Neighborhood) – Capsule Restaurant Review
Confidence is an appealing quality in a restaurant, especially when it is backed up by execution. Volterra delivers both in spades. The menu, the staff, and the food all exhibit a quiet certainty that they can make terrific modern Italian food.
We started with a simple frisee salad with grated truffle cheese. The salad was dressed lightly enough that the leaves could still remain airy on the plate, and the cheese communicated a hint of truffle without the overpowering taste you get in a truffle oil vinaigrette.
Our second appetizer was superb pan-fried tomatoes with chevre and arugula. The tomatoes were breaded and fried, the goat cheese whipped to a fluffy consistency, and the whole plate garnished with a salsa of diced tomatoes and red onions. Spectacular.
My entree was a house-made agnolotti (in a non-traditional, pyramidal shape) filled with roasted eggplant, and bathed in a garlicky tomato sauce. I would have gone for a bath in that sauce myself. I didn’t save room for dessert.
Service was friendly and efficient, and the waiter was well trained in the menu. He was easily able to tell us what was vegetarian and what could be altered to be vegetarian, and what was safe for my wife who is allergic to nuts.
If I were to pick one small nit, there was a gentleman who seemed to be a sommelier and/or floor manager who was constantly circling the room to make sure that everyone had what they needed. That would be a good thing, but he never stopped to chat with us, just kind of kept peering over the table on his way by and it was a bit disconcerting. I heard him speaking with other tables and he seemed to be a very nice, friendly guy so I’m sure it was just an oversight.
Ballard, unforunately is such a long drive from our house that it might as well be in Uzbekistan. Still, we might have to suit up for the intercontinental journey occasionally, because that was one of the best meals we’ve had in awhile.