Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

[Houston] Dolce Vita


Recommended Posts

I thought this was a really well written review:

A slice of the 'sweet life'

and it has me absolutely chomping at the bit to go. My parents have been I think three times and love it. Anyone else? (Foodman, in particular, I'm lookin' at you.)

Naturally, the Batali comparison caught my eye. My parents showed me the menu a few months back and it does seem very Babbo/Otto inspired (though no complete copies, thankfully, or that would go a whole other thread!). But, too, that it's from the Da Marco chef is a seal of approval for me.

Link to post
Share on other sites
I thought this was a really well written review:

A slice of the 'sweet life'

and it has me absolutely chomping at the bit to go. My parents have been I think three times and love it.  Anyone else?  (Foodman, in particular, I'm lookin' at you.)

Naturally, the Batali comparison caught my eye. My parents showed me the menu a few months back and it does seem very Babbo/Otto inspired (though no complete copies, thankfully, or that would go a whole other thread!).  But, too, that it's from the Da Marco chef is a seal of approval for me.

I have not been yet :angry: . The problem is it is nowhere near my way, and it only opens for dinner, so some planning and babysitter arangements are needed. It definitly is on the top 5 places I am itching to try very soon. Kevin, maybe you can visit Houston and let me know...we can meet there.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to post
Share on other sites

As a huge Da Marco fan I was so excited for Dolce Vita and it has surpassed expectations. The only problem right now is the crowd. So much press lately and all of it right on, I think. Even that reviewer at Texas Monthly reviewed it this month.

I cannot recommend enough the Tallegio pizza which is tallegio cheese, argula, pears, and white truffle oil. I think I have already consumed 10 of these since it has opened. If I need to go to a "happy place" when stressed at work I imagine the smell of this pizza. The pizza crusts are sooooo good. It has taken a ton of strength to order anything else from the menu but everything else has been excellent (except the mushroom with ricotta cheese dish and the cauliflower dish). I especially recommend any of the pasta dishes (gnocci with ragu, spaghetti with ceci, etc), the Niman Ranch speck from the carne menu, and the parsnips and also the shredded brussel sprouts from the verduna (sp?) menu. The prices are all surprisingly affordable and the wine is much lower prices than one would think. In fact, knowing Da Marco's price structure I was expected it to be about 20% higher than it actually is. The Tallegio pizza is ~$12, a decent glass of wine 6-8 and plenty of bottles are in the 30s range. Another awesome pizza is the one with tomato sauce olives, capers, and mozz. I can't rave enough about the tomato sauce on some of the pizzas.

It is sort of a madhouse and can be loud, close together and things are brought out as they are done. I would not bring kids there or high maintenance people who can't relax. Or at least wait until it quiets a bit.

There was a hilarious Whine and Dine about some people who went there and weren't treated like the royalty they thought they should be and were mad that the pizzas weren't pre-cut in the kitchen. I was glad to see that review since people like that shouldn't even bother.

And next door to DV is the new location for Indika, so can the world of dining get any more exciting for that square block? NO!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

Finally! I made it to Dolce Vita last night and I too was very satisfied with the whole experience (even the $16 glass of wine they gave me, I thought I had the $9 d'alba barrola?).

Our first dishes were the brussel sprout "slaw" with pecorino and radishes in a red wine vinegar dressing. Nice light sprightly dish. Next was the spec niman ranch, cold smoked perhaps, prosciutto. This was a stunning smoked/cured pork. I could eat this everyday. The serving tray is really cool also, the meat is served on a large wooden cutting board with some paper on top, surely for sanitation purposes. Next was the fried artichokes, probably the least inspiring of all dishes but still tasty. The waiter had suggested the fried rapini but we passed?

On the waiter, Preston, he was awesome. Very good at giving suggestions and confirming items we thought sounded good. And even though there was a mixup (I didn't say anything about it) on the wine, I'd say he was the best waiter I have encountered in many many years. Sigh, he leaves monday for a new job after passing his series 7. BTW, the wine he did serve me was excellent! I wish I knew what it was? If you go to DV soon please look up the $16 glass red wine? I want to try and buy it for home consumption.

Ohhh yeah, the pizza?! It was marvelous. we had the tellagio, pear, arugula with truffle pizza and it was devine. The only suggestion I would make to the chef is perhaps a little fleur d sel, I really think that would have added an extra dimension that would have really made this crazy good. That being said, the combo of the sweet pear, slightly spicey arugula, the pungent cheese and the earthy truffle is really superb.

Not to be outdone IMO was the rubiola, leek and chunky pancetta pizza. Again, balance of taste was truly amazing here. The sweet sweated leeks, the salty big chunks of pancetta and the smooth silky rubiola were outstanding. In fact, this might be my first repeat pizza on my next visit, not the tellagio/truffle pizza, its that damn good!

Next time I hit this place I will probably try a pasta and perhaps a tomato sauced pizza like the margarita or the spicy salame that my brother raves about. The problem is, I have a hard time getting something so mundane? Of course, my guess is the mundane can be sublime at this restaurant?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sitting at my desk at work eating cold, limp, leftover Tallegio pizza from last night and even though it is probably a disgusting thought to people out there - that's how damn good it is, even cold, reeking of truffle oil, it is still my crack addition. And the only reason there is leftover is because I ate some of my husband's pizza which has tomato sauce, argula, prosciutto, and mozz., and my friends pizza with eggplant and mozz. (a new addition). Both of those were great. I almost ordered the one with suasage, rapini, and pecorino last night and my husband said "you're not getting your Tallegio?" and I realized my (almost) folly.

I think you could take an old leftover Tallegio pizza from DV outside, run it over with a truck and I would still eat it.

I did take the advice and add some salt to it which is very a good idea.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

Well, all the stars aligned, we were in the area and my wife said "Hey, I am craving some good pizza!" So we gave Dolce Vita our first try. Got there before the rush (around 6PM) and enjoyed a very good dinner. This -like Walsh said- the best pizza crust around. I could not waste a single bite.

We had:

- Octopus with Rapini. Very very tender and tasty with a good kick from crushed chile flakes

- Shredded brussle sprout salad. Even my wife who thought she does not like brussles sprouts gobled this up. It had a nice falvor and crunchy texture with a good dose of pecorino in there.

Both the previous two were eaten with the "pizza bread" (note to self and others: Pizza bread is not free :smile: )

- Tallegio, arugula and pear pizza with truffle oil. The pizzas were bigger than I expected actually. Still this lovely pie was consumed in totality by myself.

- Proscuitto with arugula pizza. My wife orederd this and we both enjoyed it. She took the leftovers home and ate them the next day. Even from the microwave, this is still delicious.

- We shared a pistachio, coffee and chocolate gelato. I would've liked this much better without the goopy whipped cream on top.

I drank a glass of very good Sedara Sicilian wine with my meal. We will most definitly be back to Dolce Vita as soon and we can.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to post
Share on other sites
Glad you finally went and moreover that it was so good. 

My ongoing quandary is in coming to Houston on the weekend and having to fight the weekend crowds to get in there.  Sounds like they're still out of control there, then?

We were there by 6PM on a Friday and it was mostly empty. However, it is small and fills up fast. So, by 7:30 or so when we left it was full with a wait. moral of the story: get there right after they open, preferably no later than 6 and you'll be fine.

BTW, I really wanted to try what looked like a fresh anchovies in escabeche that another table had but my wife bulked at the idea :smile: . So, when you do go, give it a try and let us know how it is pretty please.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, I still want us to do an outing there together to pick that menu apart . . .

Sure. PM me when you are in town or a few days before and we can -hopefully- do just that.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to post
Share on other sites

I got there at 8pm on a friday, or was it saturday and we were sat right away. So my guess is no matter what time it is you are good? So you have to wait a few minutes and sit at the bar and look at those pizzas?

Link to post
Share on other sites

The crowds have thinned there considerably, maybe the Da Marco fans are at Sabor as the new hot thing. You won't have a hard time getting a table even at prime time on Fri/Sat. Last month, Gourmet magazine listed DV in their "What's Hot Now" section or whatever and had 5-6 cities with one restaurant and the only one in this part of the country was Houston and talked about DV.

I think you get better service when you sit downstairs inside, just an FYI, but then you are talking about 4 small tables so then there might be a wait.

BTW, I did stray from my Tallegio addiction and have the Pecorino, rapini and sausage pizza last week and it was very good, extremely salty, but I was warned and it was good nonetheless.

Link to post
Share on other sites
The crowds have thinned there considerably, maybe the Da Marco fans are at Sabor as the new hot thing.  You won't have a hard time getting a table even at prime time on Fri/Sat.  Last month, Gourmet magazine listed DV in their "What's Hot Now" section or whatever and had 5-6 cities with one restaurant and the only one in this part of the country was Houston and talked about DV.

I think you get better service when you sit downstairs inside, just an FYI, but then you are talking about 4 small tables so then there might be a wait.

BTW, I did stray from my Tallegio addiction and have the Pecorino, rapini and sausage pizza last week and it was very good, extremely salty, but I was warned and it was good nonetheless.

Did the waitstaff warn you about it or did your dining companions? Seems weird that the staff at the restaurant would know to warn people about something being to salty when the easier fix would just be to, ah, make it less salty . . .

I'm just leery about crowds at pizza joints since up here in Dallas there's STILL an hour and a half wait on any given night it seems to get into Fireside Pies.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Try the Rubiola, leek and pancetta. I'd like to see what others think. Its my fav, atleast I think it is. The truffle is sooo good as well.

The crowds have thinned there considerably, maybe the Da Marco fans are at Sabor as the new hot thing.  You won't have a hard time getting a table even at prime time on Fri/Sat.  Last month, Gourmet magazine listed DV in their "What's Hot Now" section or whatever and had 5-6 cities with one restaurant and the only one in this part of the country was Houston and talked about DV.

I think you get better service when you sit downstairs inside, just an FYI, but then you are talking about 4 small tables so then there might be a wait.

BTW, I did stray from my Tallegio addiction and have the Pecorino, rapini and sausage pizza last week and it was very good, extremely salty, but I was warned and it was good nonetheless.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, I still want us to do an outing there together to pick that menu apart . . .

Sure. PM me when you are in town or a few days before and we can -hopefully- do just that.

Did anyone see "whine and dine" today? Someone complained of rude service. Anyone else experience that?

Edited by Bill Miller (log)

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

yeap, I saw W&D. Click here.

My service was very good, attentive and not obtrusive. The waiter answered all our questions and seemed knowledgeable. My first thought when I read the "whine" was, "well what did you do about it?" I mean the way she describes being treated is in no way acceptable and I would've asked to talk to the manager/chef/owner ASAP.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to post
Share on other sites
yeap, I saw W&D. Click here.

My service was very good, attentive and not obtrusive. The waiter answered all our questions and seemed knowledgeable. My first thought when I read the "whine" was, "well what did you do about it?" I mean the way she describes being treated is in no way acceptable and I would've asked to talk to the manager/chef/owner ASAP.

Ditto!!

Cooking is chemistry, baking is alchemy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the service can be abrupt or spacey sometimes. Maybe that's why it seems more authentic, seems more Italian, it isn't some Americanized experience where the customer is 150% right and the whole staff claps happy birthday to you while giving your entitled free hot fudge sundae with whipped 'topping." Not that I am excusing anyone for asking a customer to leave. That's totally wrong. The manager and host(esses) on duty would probably be appalled if they knew someone had said that (leave the table). I was put off by that person saying that it was such a horrible experience they forgot what the food tasted like. I can remember the taste of a stale Good n Plenty I find behind the bureau and still eat weeks ago. It seems like the theme of Whine and Dine is service and quantity, not necessarily food. (Please note I am absolutely not excusing that service situation they described, I just find W&D unintentionally hilarious).

BTW, the server warned me that it was salty (that aforementioned pizza) because between the homemade sausage and the pecorino cheese, there's going to be a lot of salt, I think it's a sum of the ingredients, not the kitchen's fault. In any case, it wasn't unpleasantly salty, I would say pleasantly so. In fact, if I was craving salty food I would seek it out.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guys? - it's pizza.

Yes, but it is really expensive pizza. For that money, I expect quality food and service; not one or the other.

Edited by LDLee (log)

"As far as I'm concerned, bacon comes from a magical, happy place" Frank, John Doe

Link to post
Share on other sites

I really would not call the pizza expensive. IMHO, the pies are a very generous size, and absolutly excellent with a crust I've never tasted anywhere and lovely simple toppings. For 14 or 15 bucks, that is not expensive. Man, a large pizza from Pizza Hut is about that much and tastes of cardboard and grease. As, for service, yes it is casual , but I have nothing to complain about.

BTW, I am not sure what greansnbeans was refering to with his "Guys? - it's pizza" comment or what he meant.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to post
Share on other sites
I really would not call the pizza expensive. IMHO, the pies are a very generous size, and absolutly excellent with a crust I've never tasted anywhere and lovely simple toppings. For 14 or 15 bucks, that is not expensive. Man, a large pizza from Pizza Hut is about that much and tastes of cardboard and grease. As, for service, yes it is casual , but I have nothing to complain about.

BTW, I am not sure what greansnbeans was refering to with his "Guys? - it's pizza" comment or what he meant.

Allow me to clarify what I "was trying" to say for those of you who did't understand. LDLee seems to understand what I was refering to, but all I was saying is Dolce Vita is a place for casual dining, authentic food and wine and meeting place for people who enjoy those things. I dont think Matt is trying to preform the quality of service that one may recieve at Marks but one that matches the concept. I always have great service there and I am sorry that others have not had such a great expeirence but I also think if you were unhappy with your service - go back and give em another shot. Its the best pizza in this town! Like I said, "Guys? - it's pizza"

clear?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for clarifying. Yes, that is better and allows more room for discussion. In any case, the complain arose from the Chronicle's Whine and Dine section, not from anyone on this forum. The way the "whiner" describes it the waiter/hostess behavior was unacceptable, whether it is Mark's or a pizza joint. Like I said, I enjoyed my experience very much and did not see anyone being asked to clear a table.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...