I confess that I’m rarely upset when a restaurant closes because usually there’s a good reason why. But sometimes when one closes, I’m scratching my head as to why because the place was pretty darn good. Korean Grill Buffet, Jibarra, Fraziers and you can certainly add Cafe Caturra to that list. As a neighborhood favorite, I was a bit hurt when I heard that Cafe Caturra was going to be replaced by Tazza Kitchen but the older I get, the quicker I rebound! So yeah, I was excited to try out Tazza Kitchen and I’m glad to say I think we are in good shape with the replacement…
Located in the back, right-hand corner of Cameron Village (looking at it from Peace Street), Tazza Kitchen is barely recognizable from its previous incarnation. Out front the fireplace has been removed and it’s got a feel reminiscent of my visits to wine country in CA. Grained wood paneling, simple ironwork and party lighting overhead. Inside Tazza Kitchen has a very cozy and romantic feel to the place with white brick, dark woods and a stone-topped bar. Plenty of staff on-hand for my visit but they’re probably still in training mode on Day 2.
I grab a menu and there are a couple of items reminiscent of Cafe Caturra: a nice wine list, meatballs, habanero maple chili and a few other hold-overs. I grab a glass of Uruguayan tannat and figure I’ll order up a sausage pizza. By surprise, a plate of meatballs show up in front of me, comped by the house. Looks like they keep close tabs on their social media and picked up a tweet of mine, I’ll have to be more careful next time! The meatballs are a mix of beef, pork and veal, nicely done but a bit loose. The bread is very good, charred a bit with some olive oil, yum! I notice in back that they’ve gotten rid of the original oven but look to have imported in a special pizza oven, I’ll find out more about the oven the next time I visit. Then my pizza comes out, maybe 14″ in diameter and it looks fantastico! I pull the crust up and it has charred bits on the bottom, the sign of a good Neapolitan pie. With tasty and lighter sauce on top, mix of provolone and mozz with the sausage, this pie is not a traditional Neapolitan but pretty darn close! Thin crust, lighter-weight toppings and definitely delicious!
With two glasses of wine and the pie which is a good meal for one person, my tab ran about $30. Service at the bar was excellent, they have plenty of staff on hand in their shakedown phase. Oh and yes, a hostess stand which means Tazza is more formal than Cafe Caturra. But I am really happy with what I experience on my first visit to Tazza Kitchen. A smallish, tight menu of high quality items in a great setting works for me. Especially when it’s a half-mile from my home!
432 Woodburn Road
Raleigh, NC 27605