Volterra: Kirkland

Editor’s Pick

$$$ Italian

How do a pair of Italian restaurants with the same names, menus, and owners manage to feel so very different? By virtue of addresses on rustic Ballard Ave and newfangled Kirkland. Atmospherically the Ballard original's ruddy, romantic charm feels Tuscan while Kirkland's glassy, generic sophistication feels more Milanese—but both of the relatively unchanging menus offer Northern Italian menus favoring the tried-and-true over innovation: dishes like tender nuggets of wild boar tenderloin with lush gorgonzola cream, polenta custard oozing fontina and poured over with wild mushroom ragù, or pork jowl, wild mushroom, truffle butter pasta. Blandness can beset the kitchens (particularly Kirkland's), and service can swerve between chilly and obsequious.

Last updated: 11/27/2012