Wednesday, October 10, 2007

La Scala, Burlingame

La Scala
Traditional Southern Italian food done right

The problem with a lot of would-be Southern Italian food is the weak tomato sauce. I rarely get overdone or underdone pasta (to my unrefined palate), but a good, hearty tomato sauce with the right amount of seasoning (and by "seasoning," I mean "garlic") is hard to come by. Buca's marinara is a good one. La Scala, happily, makes another.

It's in a nice, hip part of Burlingame, near a train station and high school (not on Broadway). We walked around investigating the area and were in the mood for Italian, so we settled in. The waitstaff are nice and the restaurant has a good southern Italian ambiance that I think works better in the day. Still, it was nice, with wide front windows and pretty wood beams, and though it was small and a little crowded, we had a good table near the window from which to watch the street.

The menu is traditional Italian (with "Insalate" and "Primi Piatti" headings, for example). We tried the "La Scala" salad, which was quite tasty, a nice mix of sweet pears, crunchy greens and nuts, and tangy cheese and dressing. Then we split a pair of penne dishes: the Penne Alla Norma (with eggplant, spinach and ricotta), and the Penne Salsiccie E Pollo (sausage and chicken). Both came quickly, nice and hot. The ingredients in both were fresh, and as I've mentioned, the marinara sauce was full-bodied enough on both. I liked the Penne Alla Norma a little better, but both were good and we'd have no hesitation ordering from them again.

La Scala joins a small, select group of quality Southern Italian restaurants. If it weren't in Burlingame, halfway up the peninsula from us, we'd go there more often for sure.

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