Thursday, June 12, 2008

Enoteca.

Hubby and I stopped in here on a Wednesday evening a few weeks ago - Wednesday being our "date night" time, that is when we can seem to fit it in. Why does summer always get busier? Aren't things supposed to slow down then? So, for future reference, if I forget to mention *when* I visited a restaurant, it's usually on a Wednesday....

So anyway, I'm a moron. Even though I'm this side of 40, and desperately need my reading glasses whenever the light level in a room is less than 11, I continually forget to bring them. So as a result, my dear husband ended up having to read the menu to me. Maybe I should change the name of this blog to "edible cville reviewer idiot with CRS disease" (i.e., can't remember shit).

Basically, for the wine choices, that involved him pointing at the menu and saying things like "delectable", "harmonious" "resplendent" - these were the descriptions included under each wine selection. I settled on the one labeled "luminous" since obviously I need more light. It was an Italian white (all the choices here are Italian), and it was good. Not great. But good. Later than evening, I believe I went with the "verdant" option, which was marginally better. Don't get me wrong, both wines were good. I just didn't hear arias.

As for the tapas - they really are tapas, although not advertised as such - we decided to sample several different bruschetta options. They also have a huge selection of complementary meats and cheeses and olives to go with your wine - the most substantial option here are a variety of paninis. So don't go here for a big meal, but no matter. The many fairly inexpensive options are a good complement to sampling the various wines.

The bruschette were okay. Pretty tasty. Again, I didn't hear music, but they served the purpose. My favorites were a chickpea, red onion, and fontina option. So clean tasting. Great with the white. Also, the roasted butternut squash, gorgonzola dolce, and hazlenuts was terrific, but I kept wanting to exchange my white wine for a Sauterne.

The rest of the bruschette were just, eh. For one thing, I found the bread to be on the stale side - yeah, they're supposed to be crisp, but not taste like a crouton. Something tells me they don't toast these to order. And $2 for ONE bruschetta, and a small one at that, is steep. At least provide 2 bruschette per order if you're going to make them so tiny. Most people order these to share anyway, which is the whole point of tapas. Yeah, I know, it's not a Spanish place, but they are pushing the "small plates". Or raise the price to $6 and provide 3 tapas per plate so people feel like they're getting something.

Also, the service was icky-poo. They had one waitress and one wine server/food preparer for the entire place. And it was the waitress's first day. You could tell. She kept asking the server questions. Sometimes the same ones over and over. Now, being a Wednesday, it wasn't particularly busy, but there were at least 5 groups in the place. So we had almost finished our first glass of wine by the time the food arrived. And we had to get up and get our own silverware. Sigh. Later on, she brought us a chickpea salad, rather than the chickpea bruschette we had ordered. Double sigh.

I'll go back though. I do think this place is a great option for a small pre-theater glass of wine and a snack. Or maybe a liquid brunch on a Sunday to people watch. Just allow some time. And maybe order the salumi and cheeses. Or the panini.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hotcakes.

Stopped in here a few weeks ago for a quick lunch before some shopping. Was quickly astounded at the amount of gourmet food available - all in the glass case under the counter in big bins, deli-style. Stuff like Pea and Goat Cheese Flan and Cod Glazed with Grainy Mustard and Sauteed Haricot Verts. Fancy stuff! All this in addition to deli sandwiches that have been bumped up a notch by using stuff like homemade boursin. Wow.

So despite the Torta Rustica looking reaaaaaal good, I order a Chicken Caesar Salad. To me, this is a basic hallmark of any lunch place. If the chicken caesar is good, most other things probably are too. Not one to listen to stupid adages, husband got a quiche.

So maybe I didn't speak loud enough or the person taking my order was having a bad day, but I was brought the Tarragon Chicken Salad Plate instead. No matter, I like tarragon so I dug in.

I should've taken it back. The chicken salad wasn't bad per se, it was just very old fashioned (i.e., completely DRENCHED in mayo). Now I'm a mayonnaise expert from way back (Duke's rules!) but blech. A little does go a long way.

Husband's quiche, on the other hand, was very light, very tasty. Crust a tad tough, but otherwise very yummy.

Too full to order dessert. Those looked fabulous though, stuff straight out of a Paris patisserie. Guess I'll have to go back sometime. After all, I still haven't had the Chicken Caesar Salad.....