In his June 2013 review, critic Tom Sietsema pondered whether he should give La Tagliatella a pass, initially believing the Italian restaurant in Arlington was unworthy of a full-fledged evaluation given the time, money and calories involved in such an endeavor. But then he remembered something:
That threat has been mitigated, at least locally: On Friday, ARLnow reported La Tagliatella had closed the same day, following efforts to sell off the liquor inventory at cut-rate prices. The last La Tagliatella in the D.C. market is in Germantown, and a manager there says it's not going anywhere. The number to the chain's Atlanta regional office was either busy or no one picked up.
You may recall Sietsema's half-star review in which he compared La Tagliatella unfavorably to Olive Garden. The review quickly went viral, generating dozens and dozens of tweets that took glee in the evisceration. A small sampling:
Don't eat at this Arlington restaurant, but do read @tomsietsema's brilliantly brutal review http://t.co/9e2yA3ObDC via @washingtonpost— Kent German (@KentGerman) June 20, 2013
The critique was such a tongue-lashing — on par with Sietsema's 2006 no-star review of Le Pigalle, which also never recovered from the assessment — that it landed on Eater's list of the "19 Most Scathing Restaurant Reviews of 2013." Nearly a year after the review's publication, the Washington Business Journal wondered whether it had caused the chain to reconsider its ambitious expansion plans in the D.C. area.
Since no one from La Tagliatella was available to discuss the restaurant's demise, it's impossible to know what ultimately led to the closure. But considering some of Sietsema's findings, perhaps it was doomed from the start:
• "La Tagliatella in Arlington makes a strong case for hazard pay for restaurant critics."
• "The slick menus with their commercial-grade food shots suggest the sort of reading you might find on the desk of a budget hotel or the seat pocket of an airplane."
• "(The dishes are all labeled in Italian, but that doesn’t make anything autentico.)"
• "Like all the salads here, the Caesar comes with a choice of six dressings, including a honey and pistachio vinaigrette that goes down like melted baklava and tastes even more out of place when Dean Martin is belting out 'Volare' in the background."
• "The steaming pastas arrive with industrial-size spoons and forks that look like short rakes across their big bowls"
• And perhaps most devastating of all: "Among other dishes, the minestrone at Olive Garden, thick with identifiable vegetables and robust in flavor, is superior to the pallid puree at La Tagliatella."