With Passover concluding tonight, what better way to celebrate than discussing a return to carbs, and more importantly, pasta!
While we adore Olazzo in downtown Bethesda, we have never been to its nearby location in Silver Spring. As it turns out, Rachel inadvertently bought a BuyWithMe certificate for the Italian restaurant without realizing it was for the latter as opposed with the intention of buying it for the former.
Thanks to Rachel’s slight oversight, it gave us an opportunity to try their sister location, and especially in my case, their great meatballs.
One huge pro about their Silver Spring location is that they accept reservations, something that isn’t a practice at their Bethesda restaurant. Our table was ready as soon as we arrived, but given that it was a Thursday night instead of a weekend, this was anticipated.
Another noticeable difference between the two venues is that Silver Spring has a much larger dining area. The front of the house features an extensive bar area while Bethesda’s is essentially non-existent save for a few barstools. There were also several booths lined up opposite the bar that made for a cozy pub atmosphere.
Meanwhile, we were seated in the backroom which was just slightly smaller than their entire Bethesda dining room, but with higher ceilings and, even better, less noise. Then again, our reservation was around 9pm, so that probably helped in regards to the decibel levels.
Our waitress soon came by and asked for our drink orders while one of the busboys brought out their trademark warm, fresh bread with freshly-poured olive oil. Needless to say, I went through the whole loaf.
I ordered the Chicken Cardinale while Rachel got the Pasta Primavera. And of course, we shared a meatball.
Rachel got one of her go-to dishes here, the Pasta Primavera. The description lists the dish with olive oil and garlic, but like Brett, she loves her marinara sauce. However, she didn’t think that took away from her dish, and while it wasn’t amazing or completely unique, it was a very satisfying and heaping portion of penne pasta with an array of vegetables and a zesty sauce.
Being a huge fan of marinara, I foolishly opted for that over the tomato cream sauce that came with the Cardinale. I should have stuck with the original recipe as the red sauce’s texture wasn’t optimal for the dish, but despite the substitution, I was rather disappointed with the quality of the chicken. It was dry, stringy, and downright unflavorful.
The meatball, on the other hand, was terrific as always. Almost the size of a softball, this (along with their excellent cannolis) is one of their signature items and is a must-order if you’re dining at Olazzo. I’m honestly annoyed at myself for not ordering a plate of spaghetti and meatballs for dinner instead, but I digress.
Our bill came out to a little less than $50, and given that our BuyWithMe offer cost $20 for $40 worth of food, an inexpensive dinner turned out to be even more economical. It’s not often you receive a check for two entrees, two glasses of wine, and a side dish that comes out to $10 (excluding tip)!
Outside of the Chicken Cardinale, some of which was my fault as well as the kitchen’s, it was another great tonight at was is typically a very reliable establishment. Given that we’re walking distance to their Bethesda location, I sense I’ll have plenty more opportunities to get my cherished spaghetti and meatballs.