It was Halloween weekend—and a busy one at that.
I had invited my friends, Laura and Jordan of IDA ROSE Events to join me for brunch, following an invitation to dine at Alta Strada. Truth be told, I did not know much about Alta Strada prior to my arrival, merely that it was new, Italian, and owned by Michael Schlow.
As usual, I had no idea where I was going when I hopped into my Uber. Turns out, Alta Strada is located in the City Vista/ Mt. Vernon part of town, which is not my favorite neighborhood as I find it to be too commercial and too new-new. But, apparently it’s everyone else’s favorite neighborhood, as it was buzzing with people out and about at the farmer’s market with their dogs and children in costume.
The restaurant is new and decorated like a big box Italian spot—not unlike a Carmine’s or a Carrabas. I was fine—but not enamored—with the decor.
We gathered in a sunny booth near the window to catch up. Laura and Jordan have had quite the busy few months following the launch of IDA ROSE events with much fanfare. The boutique, creative events company plans weddings, social functions, and events for companies and tech-start-ups and also styles creative bridal shoots, inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Game of Thrones, and math and science. Their creativity continues to astound me.
These ladies are always a blast—though they let me drink my mimosa alone as we were heading to their SoulCycle event after. At this point, I’m pretty accustomed to drinking a mimosa or two and then heading to SoulCycle. (For inquiring minds: bottomless is available for $21 a la carte.)
We opted to share everything, making the decisions for appetizers first. We were sold on the crunchy meatballs, served in a cast iron skilled with a spicy tomato and basil sauce. These meatballs are heaven—and I can certainly see myself enjoying the dish at the bar with a glass of red wine at a later date.
We also ordered the oh-so-shareable roasted beets, topped with roasted walnuts and spicy Gorgonzola. This was a hearty dish, packed with flavor, and was quite a hearty helping, which turned out to be a trend at Alta Strada.
Like any good Italian restaurant, Alta Strada drops baskets of warm, crusty Italian bread on the table—the kind you pull apart and gets flakes all over your lap. This bread was flaky, crusty, and delicious—slathered with butter in the classic fashion.
People tend to feel strongly about mushrooms—and both ladies admitted that they love mushrooms, but their significant others do not. Thus, they were on board when I requested we order the frittata with mushrooms, fontina cheese, and caramelized onions. Because, honestly, is there a better combo that you can find in a quiche or a frittata? I certainly don’t think so.
We also ordered the Eggs Benedetto, which was an enormous dish, and very easy to share. An Italian Eggs Benny, the poached eggs were perched atop proscuitto and ciabatta bread. The Hollandaise was thick and creamy—everything at Alta Strada was gluttonous and maximalist. There was way too much of it for my taste. It was served with an unnecessarily hearty helping of salty, greasy hashbrowns.
We were surprised when a pizza was whisked to our table. So surprised, my eyes bulged out of my head—I could not muster a pizza. Then I saw that this was not any pizza but an everything bagel pizza and I nearly lost my mind. Yes, Bitches, this was an Everything bagel pizza crust, which was as delicious as you can imagine. (Laura, who loathes salmon, ate just crust with glee and we supported her fully.) The pizza was topped with smoked salmon, marscapone, tomato, capers, and red onion. The toppings were heaping, so we rolled up the slices of the thin pizza and chomped down into what tasted like an Everything Bagel but as in fact a slice of pizza. Brunch pizza dreams, complete.
The grand finale—and boy was it grand—was the Nutella French toast, served with chopped hazelnuts and bananas. Again, this was an enormous helping, making it great for sharing as a brunch dessert with a large party. The French toast was thin and moist, and drizzled with quite a lot of Nutella, along with sliced bananas. You can’t go wrong with this combo—and we all went back for second helpings, giving ourselves stomach aches at SoulCycle.
All in all, this is a brunch for the hungry and the gluttonous, with its enormous platters of Italian and bottomless fare. It’s great for groups, family-friendly, and offers an affordable bottomless. The ambiance and quality of fare might leave something to be desired for the most discerning or snobbish of diners. But, we enjoyed it—and it’s certainly worth a visit for the Nutella French toast and the Everything Bagel Pizza.
The Bitches say: B+. Enormous plates of Italian fare and a $21 bottomless. Perhaps not the best spot for the discerning diner or foodie, but Alta Strada offers delicious, heaping plates of Italian fare for the hungry!
465 K St. N.W.
Alta Strada serves brunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.