Sunday, September 28, 2014
Taliano's Italian Restaurant, Fort Smith - Elegant Dining.
-- took the recipes their mothers taught them and put them to good use within the walls of the home, changing little over the years but the prices.
The mansion has been kept up over the years. Chandeliers have been converted from gas to electric. Fleur de lis carpeting, velvet drapes and candelight make it one of the most romantic places in town. Oh, why have I not experienced the magic?
For two young folks to drive up from Russellville for dinner is something else. The incident didn’t mar my love for the place. After all, the sauce was flavorful and fresh, the pasta pliant and marvelous, the cappuccino wet, the tiramisu a moist and caffeinated dream that fueled the drive home since the cappuccino couldn’t.
That was 21 years ago. After all these years, does it still stand up as an outstanding example of fine Italian family cookery? Is it still romantic? Could it be romantic while photographing and taking notes about the food?
We decided to try on a cool September night. We met a rather friendly fluffy gray cat outside, who insisted on attention before we made our entrance. The Talianos folks say the fellow belongs to nearby neighbors but he’s a regular mooch at the door.
We noticed right away that the menu prices have changed since the last time they were updated on the website, but not so much as to scare us off. We decided to start off with the Baked Artichoke
We took our time about ordering, and finally came to our conclusions and ordered. While we waited, we chatted and our waitress came out and lit our candle. The music periodically soared, an all-Italian soundtrack without much English, with melodies straight out of the 1950s, maybe even out of Roman Holiday. We enjoyed our salads adorned with hefty globules of blue cheese dressing, enjoyed them a lot.
Our orders were eventually delivered, and we did our dance, amusing the waitress as we exchanged places (plates were hot and full of pasta, so that seemed the better idea), shooting at level and overhead the two dishes set before us.
I had gone for a duo of flavors, after I had found that the vegetarian pastas
The other side of my plate was far more exciting,
Dessert was out of the question. There was no way we were going to be able to consume anything else. And that’s okay. Our hostess mentioned that there are a lot of people who like to come in just for dessert and coffee. We’re going to have to do the same.
And that’s the thing… those ladies, most of the diners there, even Grav himself, have been coming back for decades and generations. See, when the restaurant opened in 1970, there weren’t any other Italian restaurants in town. Today there are a handful. Taliano’s survives because it doesn’t change. The two families still run it – grandchildren now filling their grandparents’ roles. The menu is perfect as is. The house is beautiful. It’s still a popular place for wedding receptions and prom night dinners… and as long as the families stick with it, it’ll remain that way.
If you haven’t been, check it out. If you have, it might be time to head back again. Watch out for the cat.
Taliano's Italian Restaurant
201 N 14th St, Fort Smith, AR 72901