I am always fascinated by the names entrepreneurs choose for their establishments and La Traviata is no exception. The name is inspired by the opera of the same name by Giuseppe Verdi, set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. Based on La dame aux Camélias, the 1852 play is adapted from the novel of the same name, first published in 1848. The opera’s title La Traviata literally means "the fallen woman," or even more provocatively, "the woman who goes astray." Fortunately, there is nothing astray about this spectacular ristorante.
La Traviata is the brainchild of the passionate and ingenious owner, Mario Nazav. He has fashioned an atmosphere that reflects the grandeur of old world Italy, designed in a 19th century opera house style, contrasted with a contemporary urban flair. Escorted upon arrival to the Cedar Lounge, which had a classic, well-appointed décor with elaborate window draping, comfortable chairs and striking chandeliers. The electric blue lighting behind the bar accented the silhouettes of the shapely bottles, adding to the sexy dynamic ambiance. This locale is so refreshing, even if just to hang out with friends for a drink and to listen to the live music.
We arrived just in time to catch the opening number of Friday evening’s weekly live entertainment, The Juliette Band; (Julia Harriman, Devin Norris and J. Johnson), a young, cute and talented ensemble well received by guests. We chilled for a bit enjoying their versatile jazzy/bluesy musical choices and I sipped a delicious Pomegranate Martini (Absolut Raspberry Vodka, pomegranate juice, lemon juice) while Janet, my guest, enjoyed a glass of the house Chasing Lions Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast 2008. Check out their Saturday evenings when the versatile Sheryl Smith takes stage belting out jazz, Broadway, opera and cabaret standards. La Traviata’s website has more information on their other nightly acts.
Mario suggested in lieu of ordering an entrée, that we enjoy a sampling of some signature dishes. We were in the lounge at that point, so it was fitting to nosh on appetizers from the Bar Menu. We tested the yummy Baja Fish Tacos topped with cabbage, Serrano aioli, avocado and the Al Pastor Tacos filled with tasty pork and pico de gallo-we loved both combinations. They also offer Veggie Taco along with Flatbread Pizza, Mozzarella Caprese, Calamari Fritti Crab Cakes, Antipasti Prosciutto and Tuna Tartar and much more. Next we sampled the Lobster Tortellini which was absolutely out of this world, creamy with fresh pasta and melt-in-your-mouth lobster.
So good, I dipped the homemade Sourdough Rolls (baked fresh as needed) into the succulent remaining sauce. Jorge was our server while in the lounge-he was very attentive and professional.