Whenever I walk past La Bettola di Terroni I am always enticed by the wafts of garlic and butter aromas. Unfortunately, it is usually during my lunch hour that I take a leisurely stroll and by then I’ve already eaten.
Don’t let the name fool you – this is no “hole-in-the-wall.” The interiors are very inviting as you walk through the glass doors and are greeted by Mr. Pig (read hanging legs of Parma prosciutto) and Mrs. Pasta (racks of pasta). Talk about being a tease! The interior is very modern with leather banquettes and exposed brick. I like that there’s an exposed brick alcove (which reminds me of a wood-fired oven), but the pizzas don’t come out of there – it’s just filled with liquor!
A rolled down, brown paper bag serves as the bread “basket.” I’ve always had the mantra that the measure of a quality restaurant starts from the bread. If their bread basket is crap, don’t expect much. The one at La Bet was neither here nor there. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t fresh either. The crust was a bit chewy.
In addition to the regular menu, you will find an insert with the daily specials inside the menu. Today we opted for the Giuggiolosa Salad with Cambazola, roasted red peppers, toasted pine nuts, olives and honey on a bed of mixed greens as well as the Funghi Assoluti – baked oyster mushrooms dusted in Parmesan atop a bed of arugula. Both salads, though having very simple ingredients tasted amazing.
We ordered the Chitarra alla Norcina off the daily specials menu, made with a sausage ragù and shaved black truffles. The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente but the sauce was like taking a salt shaker and slapping me in the face with it. I think I read somewhere in the newspaper today that there’s pressure on the government to get restaurants to display sodium content and calories on menus – I don’t know that I’d want to see the sodium count on this one! The shaved black truffles were nutty but not particularly aromatic or as bold as some I’ve had before. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re not in season, or from where it’s sourced but my truffle craving was left dissatisfied; it wasn’t as if there weren’t a generous amount of truffle shavings either. My favourite truffle pasta is still at Mistura.
For dessert I opted for the Cannoli Siciliani with pistachios. While I’ve heard many a time that we should skip the cannolis and go for the Nutella fritters – I was not disappointed. These cannolis may have been a tad over-fried or re-fried, but they were nice and thin and the ricotta filling was absolutely divine. The cappuccino here is pretty good; it’s hot enough and there was a healthy layer of milky froth on top.
Service here is friendly and we ended up getting our dessert and coffees comped because the kitchen had actually forgotten about our main and we ended up waiting a bit longer than normal. While most of the menu items at La Bet can be found at their other Terroni locations – the service is definitely more attentive and I like the more trendy ambiance. It is definitely a place to go if you want to have a relaxing lunch; though at $70 with tax and tip is probably not an everyday indulgence!