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Jun 25, 2009 11:06 AM

Ado in Venice: Amazing Al Dente Homemade Pasta!

While looking for a place to eat in Venice, I remember reading about Ado, a small new Italian eatery on Main St, the brain child of Paolo Cesaro (formerly of Via Veneto) and chef Antonio Mure (formerly of Locanda Veneta).

As I walked up to the two-story yellow building, my first thought was "How cute!!"

The menu had a small but satisfying selection of antipasti, paste, and secondi. The homemade pastas caught my eye in particular.

We started out with Insalatina Tiepida di Carciofi, Granchio e Vin Cotto (Warm Baby Artichokes Hearth with Dungeness Crab Meat, Mache salad and Grape Must Reduction - $14)
A great light and clean start. The baby artichokes are sliced and mixed in with the dungeness crab meat - a great texture and flavor combination. Lightly doused with olive oil and vinaigrette, a great dish.

Tagliolini Rossi con Ragu di Quaglia in Fonduta di Taleggio (Home-made Red Beets Tagliolini pasta in a Marsala Quail Ragu served on a bed of Taleggio cheese fondue -$15)
Even the smell of it already made me so happy. Ahhh, cheese. Al dente beet pasta, savory quail ragu, and rich cheese fondue all mixed together. If this doesn't "hit the spot" I don't know what will. For me this is a must-get and a must-get-again dish.

Pappardelle al Coniglio, Porcini e Prugne (Home-made Pappardelle served with Rabbit Ragu, Porcini Mushrooms and Dried Prunes -$17)
A much more subtle dish than the previous, but again very well done. The pappardelle was again perfectly al dente, the flavor of the ragu was subtle but pervasive, and the sweetness of the dried prunes was quite a nice touch.

Agnello domestico Ripieno al Pesto (Grilled Colorado Lamb Chop stuffed with Pesto and served with a Red Wine and Mustard Sauce - $32)
The lamb was very flavorful as it was stuffed with pesto. The meat was quite moist and tender, although the lamb did have quite a bit of fat.

There was no written dessert menu, but one of the two knowledgeable waiters will spill out what's in store for you. After much debate and tiramisu being out that night, I went with the recommended Pasteria (ricotta cheese cake) This was denser and richer than I had expected, perhaps a bit too rich with nothing to cut it.

Semifreddo torrone (ice cream cake with hazelnut)
Also not what I had in mind for "ice cream cake" :P Think of it as a thick ice cream with chocolate chips and hazelnut bits. I liked this one better though, rich and sweet but not too thick.

Oh, those lucky Venice dwellers. If Ado was in my neighborhood, I'll definitely be there quite a bit. We had a great first impression (cute building, cozy space, great service, great food), so even though it isn't in my neighborhood, I'll still keep coming back.

Crappy underexposed photos here:

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  1. Great report. Thank you. I love Ado after one visit. How is their wine list?

    2 Replies
    1. re: PlonkMan

      They have a small selection of wines by the glass (like 4-5 choices each for red/white/dessert), a small selection of whites by the bottle, but a big enough selection of reds divided by regions.

      1. re: burumun

        How are they priced? Is there a decent selection in the $30 range?

    2. We went to Ado last night after reading the above review and were not impressed. The place itself is very charming and the service was great, handsome friendly knowledgeable Italian guys are at your beck and call- what could be bad about that?

      But sadly the food was not impressive. We ordered an appetizer of fried whole sardines that was quite good but the portion was small and the price was high for two sardines ($15) We all ordered pasta which was homemade but quite thick and heavy, not as delicate as homemade pasta should be. I have made it a hundred times and it's usually light and tender, this was chewy and thick. The sauce that I had was the fried zucchini with tomatoes and walnut pesto- the flavor was nice but there were maybe two pieces of zucchini, two tomatoes and the sauce seemed more to me like a butter-cream sauce, nothing like pesto ( which I also make all the time and it has more texture and garlic flavor) Another too high priced dish for not much ($17 for carbohydrates!). My friends had pastas that were mentioned by other chow hounders that were good but nothing special.
      My husband ordered a veal chop with a cherry sauce that the host described as being heavenly and was quite ordinary.
      We had two delicious wines, which was a the highlight of the meal and a lovely chocolate souffle that was served with a basil sauce, nice combination and good souffle, although a tad over-cooked.

      What can I say? I cook this type of food, I lived in Tuscany - have travelled the world and think this place is way over- hyped ( because of name dropping, typical of L.A.). I wouldn't recommend it as the menu was very rich, heavy and too many items on the menu were too heavy and rich. The main thing was the the cost didn't match up to the experience.

      1. Has anyone been recently? I am supposed to take a client there (their choice) but SIV absolutely SKEWERED the place in today's Times, and if they pull that nonsense on the Times' reviewer, I have to wonder what they're going to pull on us.

        1. latimes simply slaughters the place in its review as insincere, fake and a rip off; wine-list devoid of anything under $40, etc.

          1 Reply
          1. re: peterboy

            Ouch. We had a very good dinner there.


            When my wife complained her truffle was flavorless they comped it. But you'd think they would have learned their lesson.

            The wine list is clearly unacceptable, though.