Autostrada Ready For Launch on Main Street

Cinara co-owners Dustin Dockendorf and chef Lucais Syme are ready to unveil Autostrada – their new 30 seat, Italian-themed pasta and wine bar – at 4811 Main Street. The first dinner service is set for Wednesday, January 10th.

I took a look inside Autostrada with frontman/wine guy Dustin Dockendorf yesterday afternoon. They look to be 95% finished. What’s left are a few missing design and practical details (hanging pots above the kitchen, artwork, etc.), but beyond that they’re locked and loaded, ready to go. They did a couple of friends and family services over the weekend so their kitchen is already geared up, and their staff is schooled and scheduled.

The menu sees seven pastas and a risotto (mmm, apple and squash), plus almost a dozen starters like vitello tonnato and polpette (full menu in gallery below). It reads simply, which is entirely by design — Autostrada isn’t meant to be a reinvention of the wheel but rather as round a wheel as can be fashioned by people who are intimately aware of and experienced with the roundness of wheels. Lucais has been making these dishes since forever, so I expect it will be good.

The short wine list saves us from varietal, estate and vintage notes and focuses instead (and only) on descriptions like “Classic Tuscan” and “Spicy, Juicy Southern Style”. I like the idea — it’s not original, but it’s rare in Vancouver.

The interior is clean-lined and unfussy. The gas-less open kitchen is just to the left of the door and leads to a short bar opposite the dining room. Bright with high ceilings, the space is dominated by a mural piece by Lucais’ brother, John Syme, who is an accomplished artist and gilder. It’s of a be-goggled man racing a shoe-styled vintage race car — I’m told it’s a nod to the album cover art of a children’s record (“Ice Cream Sneakers”) that the brothers listened to when they were kids. Take a look…

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Again, the new osteria opens softly tomorrow night — Wednesday, January 10th. Hours of operation will be 5pm to 10pm, Wednesday through Sunday until the end of January. Autostrada will then expand its hours to include lunch and dinner seven days a week (11:30am to 10pm).

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