7.14.2008

raia's opens today

if i weren't on this damn fast, i would have had lunch at raia's italian market which opened today on the washington corridor 2 blocks east of shepherd.

the menu has a seafood linguine called the "pescatore" which is described as "linguini pasta, shrimp, calamari, crab claws, green olives and anchovies in a spicy marinara" for $12. i can't wait to try it. my hopes are that the pasta isn't overcooked, overly sauced, and the marinara isn't too sour, sweet, or thick and is reminiscent of fresh tomatoes. i found a pretty good version at cavatore called the "giancarlo" but i think it is overpriced for $22 especially at lunch. amici, opened by the vallone family in sugar land's town center does an even better seafood linguini dish called "linguine alla scoglio" for $19, but obviously distance places a huge limiting factor.

raia's menu interestingly enough also has some cajun influenced items such as the cajun pizza and new orleans pasta.

i would have liked to see more interesting meats and cheeses on the menu such as speck, a smoked proscuitto or sottocenere, my favorite truffle cheese. from the photos on the website, i'm hopeful that they will at least carry these items as the name suggests that raia's is more an italian market than restaurant.

if any of you make it there before me, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

15 comments:

foodprincess said...

I stopped by today to take a look. Ho hum - they had a very tired looking steam table - pick three items for $6.95. The meat case had the nothing unusual and the cheese even less - Nundini diffidently has more. There was nothing of interest in preparded foods, like an Italian deli - no antipasto at all or stuffed pastas such as ravioli, cannelloni, or manicotti. There are some packaged goods, again Nundini has a better selection. They also have a small selection of wine, but it is so warm in there, I would be hesitate to touch the wine and it is stored upright.
I am interested in trying their pizza, as I have yet to like any pizza around the West End / Heights area except the ones I make at home.
They were friendly and in the end I tried to buy something but no one paid attention to me, as I stood at the meat counter trying to order
By the way there is parking behind the store.

neverfull said...

@ foodprincess- thanks for the review! with nundini less than a mile away, i would have thunk they would have done some better and more fabulous than their competition. and it sucks that you were ignored. was the store busy? were the steam table items the daily specials posted on their website?

foodprincess said...

Hey neverfull!

Yes the steam table items where the ones that were listed as the daily specials on the web site. It was later in the afternoon, past lunch, as I thought I might pickup something for dinner.

There were two tables inside with people, none being used outside, but it is 94° in the shade these days. They had tons of waitstaff, who I assume were being trained. The other thing that struck me as being odd was they had no bread. An Italian place with no bread - so I shop there and head over to the meat market for bread? One would think, especially with the pizza oven, that must have been a significant investment, that there would be bread (I am repeating myself, lol.)

I also did not notice an espresso machine. There is a place for gelato, but none there yet, I wonder who their supplier will be?
I did see some sliced up cake, but no other Italian confections.

Personally I would have tried to get my interest, show me the menu, talk abut the food. Chat me up - they did not know who I was except I was there on opening day - to me that would have shown significant interest.

So far this looks more like a restaurant than a deli (which was what I was looking for.) So let's see how the food is and then we can form a better opinion.

neverfull said...

@ foodprincess - thanks for all of that info. perhaps we can meet over there for lunch when i'm off this detox?

Anonymous said...

just so you know, good food can never be found in houston. why bother?

neverfull said...

@ anonymous - i see that you are from NYC and you've visited my blog before. i would agree that NY has better food, but what do you know about houston? and if you say there is no good food to be found here, why bother continuing to read my blog?

foodprincess said...

Okay neverfull - let's make it a date and meet there for lunch. You should be off your diet by the end of month? And smoke free for life.

lewnewseditor said...

Hubby and I live in the neighborhood and stopped by on opening night. I had JUST gotten home from the gym and wasn't hungry. I played spectator as Mike enjoyed a chicken parm. He said it was very enjoyable. I can't wait to try the pizzas. I watched a few coming out of the oven, and appeared to have thin, super crispy crusts that I have a hard time finding. Staff was a little frazzeled, but that's to be expected on the first night. Everyone was friendly and gracious. Bread was served before the food arrived, and you could help yourself to olive oil, balsalmic vinegar, parm and crushed red pepper. There is a nice selection of meats and cheeses in the deli. Do wish they offered a selection of breads for purchase. If they did, you could pop right in this place and get a picnic lunch ready. When we went the place was packed. Will return soon, so I can do some tasting for myself!

Ruthie J. said...

Are you off the MC yet? I was thinking of wandering over here for a lunch adventure tomorrow...

K said...

Wow. "anonymous" might have the most ignorant comment I've seen on a blog lately. Congratulations, anonymous!

I'm a bit hesistant about Raia, since I'm completely attached to Nundini's (they are fantastic and they spoil me), but I'm willing to give it a shot. :)

neverfull said...

@ ruthie- not done yet. how about next week?

sheeats said...

Ruthie and I wandered over to Raia's yesterday. It was really good! No Nundini's mind you, but good in a totally different way. It's more of a restaurant, whereas Nundini's is a food store first and foremost. When you're off the MC, make sure you go and get a big bowl of their pasta Corleone. Holy Mary, mother of God, was that stuff GOOD. :)

neverfull said...

@ sheeats - mmmmm. pasta! i'm off the MC tomorrow. but i won't be eating normal food until friday.

Anonymous said...

Jenny,
Thanks for the info...this is Neal, Cynthia's friend...

I have been eyeing it for weeks...didn't know it had finally opened.
Do they plan to sell bread?? that was my biggest hope for the place...a nice ciabatta.
Will have to give the pasta a try.

Salut!
Nealio

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