715 Mass is not your typical college town restaurant. Sleek, modern and trendy, this Italian cafe would more likely be found in a big city than in the small town of Lawrence. It has a vibe to it that will appeal as much to professors and lawyers as students. One striking design note–a wall of green water bottles are spotlighted to great effect.
715 opens daily at 7:15 A.M. for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even has a late-night menu. The kitchen focuses on pizza and pasta, with panini, salads and a few entrees rounding out the menu. I had a four-cheese pizza, which I watched being hand-tossed and put in a wood-burning oven. The crust was well-charred and had a chewy texture, but would have benefited greatly from more than a dash of salt. The rabbit confit salad with arugula and grilled radicchio was tossed with a flavorful citrus vinaigrette. The pastas are handmade and both of the ones we tried were tasty and cooked perfectly. They come in single or double portions–be sure to specify which you want if your server doesn’t ask. The menu has a few vegetables that can be ordered as sides, I loved the brussel sprouts with dates and almonds.
In line with a growing trend, bread and butter are extra, not a practice I embrace. I know it’s a recession-buster, and it does keep my husband from continually putting his hand in the bread basket, but it doesn’t feel hospitable to me.
Wine can be ordered by the bottle or glass, and house wines are also available by the half-litre or litre. THAT is a cost-saving measure I wholeheartedly endorse.
Breakfast is light, and features croissants, granola, fruit and biscotti, as well as waffles and a wide variety of coffee drinks.
Add this congenial spot to your list of places to try before a Jayhawks basketball game this season. Walk-in traffic is encouraged, as only a few reservations are taken each evening.