Eater Gives La Traviata Some Love

Foodie blog Eater quotes writer Brooks of Sheffield of Lost City on La Traviata on Montague Street, reviewed as part of the Who goes there? series of posts about unprepossessing establishments that have managed to survive for many years (in Traviata’s instance, thirty three). Brooks had this to say:

The menu at La Traviata is extensive. All the usual staples. You won’t get anybody to rave about the quality; people say things like “edible” and “meh”; the woman who exited as I entered called the food “average,” even if her son’s eyes went wide at the mere thought of the spaghetti and meatballs. Yet, despite the lackluster testimonials, the joint does a boffo takeout biz (there used to be a branch on Joralemon devoted to takeaway), and the tables on a recent weekday evening were nearly all full. The exceptionally low prices (entrees hover between $8 and $15) and big portions are an obvious attraction.

He (I’m guessing Brooks is a guy; please correct me if I’m wrong) also noted that most diners were “obvious repeat customers” who seemed “quietly thankful for the restaurant’s utter informality and unrushed atmosphere.”

Addendum: the “Who goes there?” series also includes posts about local eateries Fortune House and La Mancha, as well as Carroll Gardens’ Red Rose.

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  • AEB

    And this is the way the world ends: the food is fair at best, but people come anyway, because…well, it’s familiar and non-threatening. And/or their expectations have been adjusted. And/or they no nothing or care little about food.

    The recipe for a Montague Street restaurant.

  • hoppy

    Claude, you left off the (most significant) concluding sentence: “These diners aren’t looking for adventure. They order mozzarella sticks, caesar salad, garlic bread, cheesecake and anything parmigiana. And a lot of cranberry and vodkas. They know La Traviata isn’t special. But they think it’s nice.”

  • nabeguy

    I definitely get the take-out aspect of this place. The decor combined with the indifference of the wait-staff are more than enough to avoid a sit-down experience. I made the mistake of taking my mother-in-law and wife there and, after waiting 10 minutes for anyone to take notice of us, ended up having to help myself to menus. And this was at lunch-time, with only one other table occupied . Apparently, the wait-staff was on their lunch break at the same time as their customers.

  • Monty

    Didn’t the Joralemon outpost close a year or two ago?

  • HNG

    “They order mozzarella sticks, caesar salad, garlic bread, cheesecake and anything parmigiana.”

    That’s exactly when we go there / get take out from there – when we are craving moz sticks and chicken parm (which was very frequent when I was pregnant) – and they do a great job with both. The bread is pretty freaking good, as is the pumpkin gelato.

  • heightsss

    i love traviata, i am rarely disappointed – yes, they are not breaking down doors as “new innovative crusine” – but that’s not what they are…they do the classics well, good montague staple.

  • Ted

    Dependable is the word that comes to mind and a pleasant atmosphere. Much better than their Manhattan couterparts in the world of lower priced Italian eateries. That said their whole wheat pasta in garlic sauce which I have not had in a while did and does make my mouth water.

  • David on Middagh

    I think it was La Traviata my father and I ended up at for dinner several years ago, after having tried one or two other Italian options on Montague. As I recall, he had veal marsala, I had pork chops with spinach. Both of us were happy with the food and the attentive service.

  • EHinBH

    I’m just glad they are there… We have almost nothing — and it’s better than a bank, bodega, cell phone store, or empty storefront.

  • Nancy

    I was a regular at La Traviata for over 15 years, until last fall when we were sitting there for dinner and a very large rodent made its presence known in the dining room. The wait staff was so unconcerned that it made me think this was a regular occurance, and I haven’t been able to bring myself back there since. I tend to frown upon furry gray things running over my feet while I eat.

  • PJL

    BIG Fan of their chicken parm (and delivery service), as well as most of their pastas… rarely disappointed over the past 6 years of ordering out from them…. Basic (large) red sauce dishes at pizzeria prices (better than any pizzeria around here I’ve tried–most can barely do pizza)….