Porta Via has recently added a number of new items, including salads, entrées and pizzas. I stopped by the West Nashville location last week to check them out. New salads include an antipasto salad featuring salami and prosciutto, a vegetarian portobello salad that can easily be made dairy-free without the goat cheese, and a chopped kale salad that can be vegetarian if ordered without the bacon. On the entrée menu, there’s a new pappardelle clam dish that features house-made noodles made with sriracha. If clams aren’t your thing, you can order the pappardelle with any of the other sauces (or just butter or olive oil). Among the new pizzas is a vegetarian version that features vegetables and smoked gouda.
I tried several of the new menu items during my visit. I love pizza, so I ordered the vegetarian pizza on the gluten-free crust. I’m not on a GF diet, but their gluten-free crust — made from a combination of potato, fava bean, and garbanzo bean flours — is just so good. The vegetables were great (and didn’t make the pizza soggy), but the addition of the gouda was the best part. I also sampled some of the pappardelle (minus clams) with just a little butter and cheese, and they were really good, though I think they need something with a bit more kick than just butter and cheese to make them great (clams, perhaps).
But the item I liked best — which really surprised me — was the kale salad. The kale in the salad was not pulverized, but chopped into just-less-than-bite-size pieces and massaged to remove any bitterness. And it must be made from baby kale or some magic kale I've not tried before, because the mild taste and light texture (though not its deep-green appearance) more resembled a leafy green lettuce.
There were carrots, pine nuts, feta and some shaved pecorino on top of the greens as well as a cilantro lemon dressing. The dressing really pulled it all together, though the dressing would be good on just about any salad. Or bread, as I discovered when I used a piece to clean the last bits of dressing off the plate. I wanted to ask for a bottle to go, actually.
The new menu items are available at both Porta Via locations at lunch and at dinner. Porta Via is now open on Sundays, too. I definitely recommend starting out with (and maybe sharing) the kale salad. And leave room for dessert; Porta Via's gelatos are fantastic, and there are some dairy-free frozen treats as well). The double-milk gelato is superb.
Porta Via Italian Kitchen
West Nashville: 21 White Bridge Road
Cool Springs: 3301 Aspen Grove, Franklin
Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m to 9 p.m. (Cool Springs open until 10 p.m. Saturday)
Sunday 11 a.m to 8 p.m.