Sept. 21, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

On the Trail of Toasted Ravioli | Noshtalgia

Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call
The version of toasted ravioli at Ledo’s chain restaurants is filled with hot peppers and cheese instead of meat, but it’s in an attractive fried shell.

The most polished interpretation of the oeuvre lives at Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon (2901 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va.). Staff there believe in quality over quantity, hustling out a trio of palm-sized selections stuffed with savory (and amazingly meaty) porcini mushrooms encased in tangy fontina cheese, anointed with opulent truffle oil and crowned with wonderfully nutty shaved parmesan. The surrounding pomodoro sauce, flush with acid and spice, rounds out the sublime bites.

Meanwhile, burgeoning District chainlet Taylor Gourmet has staked out its corner of the market with fried ravioli featuring an oregano-spiked, bread-crumbed crust, warm five-cheese center and side of spunky marinara. And it’s all because Taylor Gourmet co-founder Casey Patten fell in love with t-ravs while visiting — where else — St. Louis.

“When we opened, we used to serve house-cut french fries. In the beginning we couldn’t catch up and needed something else that we could serve.  . . .  I had tried toasted ravioli and loved them, so it was an easy fix,” Patten said of the adoption process.

And while he declined to say whether meat-filled t-ravs might one day become a fixture on the Taylor Gourmet carte, Patten did hint that he’s not done loving on fried foodstuffs.

“When we launch the new menu it may have something fun and funky in the way of ravioli,” he teased.

You may have won this round, St. Louis. But here’s hoping Taylor will one day soon properly address Bondioli’s — and our — t-rav obsession.

CQ Roll Call dining guru Warren Rojas will stop at nothing to track down your regional specialty/state dish/hometown favorite. Put him on the case by nominating your most sorely missed meals to gastrohunt@cqrollcall.com.

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