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Jan 28, 2007 12:10 PM

politica - a quick taste, but a lot of words

friday night i was looking to slough off some stress and get a few bites of comforting food into my stomach. around the corner happened to be politica, a place i've been meaning to try and have heard some interesting things about... mostly how a defected pizza maker from terroni was now in their employ. off we went at about 9pm that evening to be greeted and seated fairly promptly in a restaurant slightly dotted with empty seats and patrons looking comfortable, for a night on the town or simply just enjoying themselves.

my appetite was running low so we only ordered two items off the menu - angel hair jumbo scallop carbonara ($18) and the bianca pizza ($14). soon after ordering a basket of warm bread arrived with a plate of olive oil and balsamic and a few dried herbs mixed in. the bread, while warm and moist, was very bland and almost yeasty. the dip was admittedly consumed, but a combination of overly sweet balsamic with low quality extra virgin olive oil ended up turning me off.

now i should say that i'm rather hesitant at times to order scallops... the sulphides seemingly used to preserve wet-packed scallops really get to me and often make it difficult to eat the end result, no matter how perfectly cooked. we asked the chef how they arrived and he couldn't tell us, almost an offhand comment about fresh. well, the scallops were definitely wet-packed and the off flavour of the preservatives weren't very pleasant. on the otherhand, the appropriately portioned (no major heaping load of carbs, nor scant 3 twirls of a fork) pasta was nearly overloaded with bits from the sauce. white mushroom, bacon, shallot, etc were plentiful in the lovely carbonara sauce and the server gladly shaved fresh parmesan onto the corner of the plate for us. the pasta itself was a little softer than i'd like, but angel hair is often difficult to get al dante... even so, absolutely delicious ignoring the scallops which were cooked well.

the bianca was a solid 12-14" pizza with a layer of fresh arugala covering the prosccuitto (this looks spelled wrong..), latte de portia (sp? don't know what this is), gorgonzola and apple. it arrived warm, rather than hot like the pasta and cooled down rather rapidly. either way... delicious. each bite was a trick of mixing each of the toppings perfectly on my tongue to create bountiful bursts of flavours. with the large strands of cured meat nearly covering the whole surface, finding the dabs of gorgonzola and piece of apple were the difficult parts... although it wasn't as if they weren't in abundance as well. spice from the greens, salt and savoury from the meat, rich tang from the cheese and sweetness from the apple were a beautiful combination. my only wish was for a drizzle of some lovely balsamic over the top to really bring out the arugala. although, if i had asked i'm sure it could have been done. and last, but not least... i'm not the biggest fan of bread and often discard my pizza crusts but terroni pizza changed that for me. and of course, these pizza crusts were downed in no time flat with their crispy/mildly chewy and flavourful nature i'd be happy to eat it even plain.

we were stuffed and decided against a fairly dull sounding dessert menu (creme brulee, apple crumble, pistachio cheesecake - the only thing tempting me, chocolate cake, etc.) and paid up our bill. speaking of which, wine markup seems to be pretty low, approximately double what you might get from the lcbo for a bottle.

while the service from the wait staff was quite attentive, helpful and unobstrusive... we found the owner behind the bar in a manner that was somewhat odd. he seemed nervous with eyes darting around the room and arms crossed tightly as he watched. i guess i found it peculiar he didn't offer any words to coax us back or wish us well as we passed him on the way out.

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    1. I ate there last week for the first time. We each ordered the soup, split the rib appetizer (looked so great at the next table) and grilled calamari for a light lunch. Nothing was worth returning for. The soup was a red mess that was too salty. The ribs were mushy with too many different flavours in the sauce/seasoning. The grilled calamari although prefectly cooked could have had a bit more char for my taste and what were they thinking when they drizzled balsamic and then mayonaisse all over it? Balsamic? fine. But the mayo was disgusting. I could not scrape enough of it off. Serving hot greasy mayo on grilled calamari should be illegal.

      5 Replies
      1. re: deelicious

        Calamares a La Romana should be illegal?


        1. re: HarryLloyd

          Sorry Harry but if you had read my post you would have noticed that not only was the squid not breaded and fried, but the mayo was just that....mayo not aioli. This was not Calamares a La Romana, this was grilled squid a la mayo.

          Believe me I am the first to dip my fried squid into garlic sauce whether it be tzatziki on the danforth or aioli in a good italian resto. And sometimes fish into tartar - although not usually. And that being said...put the crap on the side!

          1. re: deelicious

            that's really a shame, i don't appreciate it when restaurants liberally squirt mayo or any other heavy sauces onto my food making it difficult to remove... a personal pet peeve i have against thuet.

            i have to admit though, the mango ribs stood out to me as the disaster dish of the menu. trying too hard to do something trendy and unique that likely wouldn't work for something that can be done simply and wonderfully like ribs.

            that being said, the pizza was the highlight but i do think they're somewhat limited overall.

            1. re: pinstripeprincess

              I work/live in the neighbourhood too Pinstripe so I will likely go back for zah as choices in the immed. area can be limited. I would also order the calamari again but HOLD THE MAYO!

        2. re: deelicious

          Thank you proved my point without having to re-post my thoughts after my radical' thoughts on this subject where removed. You should be able to tell just by reading a menu if the people behind the place actually know anything about restaurants or good food for that matter! The place is just down right silly!