Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dining Out: Sagra stands for Italian

Last night my wife and I decided we wanted to check out a restaurant a friend of mine had mentioned that looked to have really good Italian food. Thus started our great dinner at Sagra

The building where Sagra is at used to hold another restaurant that we really like (Mars), thus I'm inclined to think that the argument behind location, location, location has more to do than just the location, but seems to be related to great flavor and service.

As a disclaimer, I will admit that I'm a huge fan of truffle oil and few restaurants in town know how to deliver it in ways that complement their great menus. Sagra has really mastered that art from what we tasted yesterday.

Sagra is located on a small street between Downtown Austin and the University of Texas. It's in an older and quaint house that has been in operation as a restaurant for several years now, but holds a unique charm of its own and is a great backdrop for great Italian food. When we arrived we were promptly seated in a nice table close by the door and the brick pizza oven.

After we got settled and we met our waiter, Ryan, we studied the menu and even with Austin Restaurant Week going on, I was more interested in their normal menu than the special fix price offering.

Since I share very similar food tastes to my wife we decided that we'd get to try more different things if we shared our plates and settled on getting an appetizer salad, a pizza and a pasta dish to split. To complement our dinner we picked a nice bottle of Montepulciano wine that went really well with our pizza and pasta choices.

For our starter salad she picked the Arugula salad that had a great combination of pear, gorgonzola, pancetta and probably my favorite part (as I mentioned above) was the truffle vinaigrette that really complemented the arugula in the salad and went great with the sweetness of the pears.

After the salad and our first glass of wine, my palate was tingling with anticipation. Fortunately we didn't have to wait too long before Ryan brought our Quattro Formagi pizza with added Truffle Oil (told you!) and a plate of Penne alla Arrabiatta.

The pizza was perfectly crisp, and the flavor combination of all 4 cheeses combined with fresh tomato sauce and the truffle oil made every bite a delight.

The Penne had enough spice that it tingled in my mouth and the italian sausage in the sauce had enough fennel flavor to complement the spice, without overpowering it.

Although we were almost full by the end of our meal, we still had room for the flourless chocolate cake, and that sealed the deal for us. The cake was so moist and tasty that we left the restaurant feeling like we had been graced by the gods.

We can't wait to go back for their Sunday brunch.

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