Dining Divas Not Disappointed with New Italian Restaurant in the Loop
By Lisa Kampeter
People always ask me how long the Dining Divas have been getting together. I can’t remember exactly, but I know I’ve had three different jobs since the beginning. The Italian Diva trumps me by three or four more (but who’s counting). I know we’ve been around as long as the series Survivor and plan to outlast it. You’d think we’d tire of it…well, actually, why would you think that? Dining out (not having to cook). Getting together with the ladies (lots of laughs). Checking out new restaurants (lots of great food). We’ll never tire of it!
This month, we ventured to Tavolo V in University City. This Italian restaurant had to show some spice to get an approval rating from a few of the ladies. Our Italian Divas are home-grown experts when it comes to good old fashioned pasta, and Tavolo V did not disappoint.
Located on the south side of Delmar in a building that looks like at one time it may have been a full service garage, Tavolo V has its own parking and an outdoor patio, great amenities in U City. The restaurant has high exposed ceilings and an open dining room with a beautiful mural of the city covering one wall. We were intrigued with the garage door located near our table and hoped they’d open it as it was a nice fall-like evening.
Although the industrialized atmosphere is trendy, it makes hearing each other difficult. And if you happen to be seated opposite the garage door windows, the reflection of the sun only allowed you to make out silhouettes of your fellow diners. It was slightly annoying but not enough to ruin our evening.
We were delighted to have a long time Diva-Wanna-Be finally be able to join us this night, and she entertained us with her stories of being “roofied” and her adventures with her Tupperware girls (she’s a queen at selling the stuff). Tupperware parties have kept her from being able to attend, and after meeting her, I’m sure it’s quite a party when she’s involved.
We always look forward to hearing from our Education Diva. Now that’s she’s in a new classroom in a new district, we worried that her stories wouldn’t be quite as entertaining. But they still are. In the past, she’d spend most of her school day disciplining. But at her new school when she tells her students to quiet down, they do. And she doesn’t know how to react.
We started with the Roasted Cauliflower appetizer. With lemon, garlic, and parmesan cheese, we were sure we could recreate this dish at home. It’s a delicious and healthy alternative to most appetizers. The House Salad and the Caesar Salad were tasty, and the restaurant was very generous with their portions of bread and olive oil to start off our dinners. A couple Divas tried the Eggplant Parmesan and really enjoyed it too.
Most of the Divas split their meals so we were able to try lots on the menu. For an Italian restaurant the pricing was extremely fair. When the Spaghetti and Meatballs arrived, we were shocked. Sometimes, when you order spaghetti and meatballs, you get one meatball. This time, we got two, and they were huge. Practically the size of the Deep Thoughts Diva’s head. And they were delicious.
The Tutto Mare was served with just the right amount of cream and that satisfied the Lactose Intolerant Diva. The Pasta with Cauliflower and chicken hit the spot for a couple of the ladies. A few of us shared pizzas. Although Pazzo’s Pizza with olive oil, shrimp, goat cheese, mozzarella, and pancetta was good, it need some spices. The Safe Divas went with the Cheese Pizza and loved it. And at $12 for a good-sized pizza, what a deal! The portion sizes and prices make it a real value.
Like the Dining Divas, hopefully, Tavolo V will be around for a long time. Perhaps 20 years from now, the Dining Divas will pick Tavolo V again and not even remember being here in 2012. Considering many of us don’t remember where we had dinner out last week, that’s not hard to imagine.
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