Tazza Kitchen (Arlington Ridge)

Hey ya’ll.

We’ve been enjoying having a new perspective on Alexandria since we moved in October. We didn’t move far, but having a whole new home base has completely changed our patterns. We’ve also been going out less and cooking more. But, when we do go out, the focus has mostly been on what’s closest to home and what’s cheap. Rather than trying to stay on the front of the wave of what’s new and hot, we’ve been trying places that we hope can become our regular go-to spots. I’ll admit, it has been nice to not feel like I HAVE to go somewhere new every weekend just to keep up. That’s not going to stop us from trying new things that we discover, but it has been much more comfortable at a slower pace.

That being said, last weekend we decided to try a new spot super close to home in Arlington Ridge, Tazza Kitchen. It’s right off of 395, just around the corner from Crystal City, and north of Del Ray. The shopping center that it’s in has our vet’s office, my new gym, a grocery store, froyo, and a liquor store. What more could you possibly need? We had been meaning to try the restaurant that was in the building before Tazza, but never got around to it. So, we jumped on the new spot as soon as we knew it was open.

The exterior of the restaurant is decked out in wood paneling and is quite inviting. There is an outdoor patio that I’m stoked to enjoy come spring.  The warmth of the wood on the outside continues onto the inside. It has a sort of modern lodgey kind of feel? All I know is that it was a cold miserable rainy night and I forgot the foul weather as soon as I sat down.

We were greeted by an extremely friendly server. Maybe a little too chatty, but I never mind a little bit of extra service. We also noticed that the happy hour specials were NOT limited to the bar. How awesome is that? The lady started with the $5 Sazerac. And since I’m currently in an epic battle to have my pants continue to fit, I went with a glass of the house red wine. I know how many calories are in that and it’s something I drink slowly. 

We decided to start with the brick oven brussel sprouts. They were served with bacon jam, a smoky tomato puree, and pickled mustard seeds. And they were delicious. I love a good savory jam, smokiness, tomatoes, and anything pickled and I’m having a love affair with brussel sprouts at the moment so this appetizer was like it was created for me. It was a perfect size for two people to split without filling up before our entrees.

 

For entrees, the lady went with the Prosciutto and arugula pizza and I had the crispy polenta and shrimp.

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The crust of the pizza was really tasty and the arugula was dressed nicely. I ended up actually having a few bites of hers because it was brought out several minutes before my entree. The server seemed to be aware of this issue, so I was a little surprised that they didn’t hold her pizza back until mine was ready. We can just chalk it up to new restaurant hiccups.

 

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The shrimp was a tad rubbery and overcooked, but the polenta was perfect. Crispy on the outside, but creamy on the inside. The portion was a little bit small, but since I’m watching what I eat, I was grateful. There were two polenta cakes and they were pretty filling. I liked the cooked cherry tomatoes in the shrimp broth. Overall, pretty tasty.

As we were leaving, one of the investors followed us out the door and introduced himself to us. He asked how we enjoyed our meal and told us he was glad that we gave them a try. We were glad too! We’ll be back.

  • Favorite thing I had: It’s a 3-way tie between the toppings on the brussel sprouts, the pizza crust, and the polenta cake.
  • Favorite thing she had: She liked the brussel sprouts.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The salads look really interesting. And we saw one come out of the kitchen, it was towering. Of course I’ll have to try the pizza: the spicy sausage and black pepper honey one sounds really great. And brunch of course. We’ll definitely be trying their brunch.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Next week. Maybe not literally, because of Christmas, but this was a very affordable and solidly good meal. Close to home and entrees a dollar or 2 cheaper than comparable restaurants, it’s definitely somewhere I will frequent.
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