Housed in a “railroad car” space (long and narrow), the interior is kissed with dark blonde wood paneling and furniture, dim lighting and baroque/contemporary design elements. The distance between tables and chairs makes both private conversation and space a reality.
Once the waitress had taken our cocktail orders, a large bread basket arrived that was filled with moist slices of tomato focaccia and crusty country baguette. As I reached for a hunk of focaccia, I noticed a large halved roasted garlic bulb. My heart fluttered with excitement as I lathered the two clove’s worth of creamy goodness (when garlic is roasted, its cloves become soft and spreadable) all over my bread. With a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, I could not have been more content.
To begin my meal, I ordered the appetizer portion of Mia’s Meatballs. Four golf-ball sized balls arrived in a shallow pool of marinara sauce topped with a light snow dusting of parmesan cheese. Each meatball was perfectly seasoned, shaped/sized and cooked. The precise ratio of veal, beef and pork yielded a smooth and silky texture. The tangy warm tomato sauce and spicy cheese allowed, not overpowered, the moist and delicate meat to take center stage. I must admit (though I hate to) that in comparing every meatball I taste to L’Artusi’s, Mia Dona’s version has now taken first place.
Within 15 minutes of finishing the appetizer, my entrée arrived. I was shocked to see a milky-white (instead of a deep burgundy colored) sauce atop my plate of Pappardelle Bolognese (which is typically tomato, not cream, based). Wide ribbons of pasta were kissed with a creamy (though not as heavy as Alfredo sauce) gravy that was delicately laced with ground veal, small cubes of speck and parmesan cheese. While I enjoyed my entrée and appreciated the sauce’s components, I don’t think I would order this dish again. The real star of Mia Dona’s pasta menu is the spaghetti & meatballs.
From the great service we received, to the menu’s delicious stars (halved roasted garlic bulb for the bread basket, perfectly cooked meatballs), I had a wonderful experience at Mia Dona. Though it’s not located in my dining neighborhood of choice, I hope to return in the near future.