I believe the spirit of a culture is encapsulated in the cuisine. Italian food is full bodied and indulgent, simmering with strong flavor and the textures of luxury. Volare, on 2300 Frankfort Avenue, serves the best Italian food I've had the pleasure to devour in our weird and wacky town.
The management of Volare  were kind enough to invite me to sample their Carnevale  menu. Upon arriving, we were immediately seated next to the humming bar and throughout the night service remained attentive and friendly. Volare has a good mixture of old world charm and nightlife. We tucked in with big meaty steamed scallops topped with prosciutto and sitting in a puree of sweet peas, available on the "small bites" menu and perfect to accompany a drink at the bar. The special Carnevale menu gave us spicy homemade sausage and spare rib, then a cannelloni stuffed with veal, parmesan, ricotta and spinach.
I have to rave about the main course: specifically, the vodka ravioli, available on the every day menu. The prime rib was absolutely giant and spiced correctly, but the pasta--I almost lack words (for once). Have you ever had real pasta? Real, al dente pasta has a specific feel beneath your front teeth, and it doesn't dissolve into mush with the silky smooth ricotta cheese inside the shell. I have never in my life had genuine, homemade pasta like this, specifically matched with an tomato vodka sauce studded with spring peas. Utterly perfect.
Just when I thought I had been most impressed, dessert came sailing out like modern art on a plate. Chef Josh Moore prides himself on his dessert, and my Tiramisu came out decked with a hand thrown pink sugar rose with a cotton candy taste. The thick cheesecake had a tiny pastry voila imbedded in the side, and intricate swirls of sugar sauce on the plate. Accompanied by whipped-creme topped raspberry liqueur infused coffee, it was a dazzling finish to a special meal.
Like a trip to Italy, an evening at Volare is teeming with exciting culinary forays. Take a date you want to impress, take your partner to apologize for forgetting your anniversary, take you best friend to eat scallops and cheesecake and perfect pasta. Volare is the absolute tops.
photos: Lauren O'Neil and Elizabeth Orrick