I'm known for the snark I add to my reviews. I only do this when something is decidedly "off" with an establishment. This missive is going to be devoid of snark since I had a wonderful time.
I have known of this restaurant for a very long time. I think I first became aware some time around 2004-5. For whatever reason, I never made it in for a meal. Once you find "your favorite Italian restaurant" you don't tend to wander. Now that the closest Italian restaurant to me has gone down the tubes, I'm in search of another one.
I'm a big fan of atmosphere. When it's not a mid-week, "I don't feel like cooking where should we go to grab a bit" situation, I want a place that actually has something interesting going on inside. I can put up with a boring interior for a quick meal, but not for special occasions. Last night was one of those.
The Yelp reviews are what swayed me to make a visit, so I thank those who have come before me. You convinced me it was time to try this place out. I was NOT disappointed!
My experience started with easy parking. I delight in not having to find street parking. It's a small convenience, but it adds to the ease of the dining experience.
The hosts that greeted us were neat in appearance and polite. They didn't appear to have their own agenda, unlike SOME places I've seen (see some of my recent reviews).
The location itself is large. I wasn't aware of all of the dining rooms until on our way out. There is even a beautiful bar with a fire place. We were seated in a row of booths (my favorite) along the window looking at the harbor. I'm a fan of a more "old school" dining room appearance. This restaurant succeeds in this without being stuffy. The booths are dark green and lined up along the window. There cloth tablecloths (this means something to me), and even candelabras along the room dividers. This all adds up to make you feel like you went some place nice.
The service was prompt but not overbearing. I like that the servers look neat in their white button-downs and vests. I care about uniformity in the staff appearance. I'm funny like that.
The bread was different but very tasty. It was like a cross between corn bread and I don't know what.
The only downside to the dining experience was my clam chowder. It was very bland. I added a BUNCH of salt and pepper and then it came up to the level that I desired. I have a feeling that this restaurant errs on the side of a lower sodium content for its patrons. No complains, but be aware of this. My partner had the calamari appetizer and he loved it.
I had the lasagna for my main course. It was different than the usual super greasy version you get at most Italian restaurants. It didn't have an overpowering tomato sauce flavor. I'm not a fan of that and I actually find it a turn-off. There was plenty of meat inside and just the right amount of cheese. My partner had the calamari main dish. It wasn't a steak but just a non-breaded version of the calamari appetizer he had. I chastised him for not asking about the format. He enjoyed his meal very much though.
I had the chocolate mousse for dessert. He had the creme brulee. Once again, they were delicious.
To top it off, there weren't any damned unruly kids ruining my dining experience. I do NOT recommend this location for young children anyhow. Let the adults have their fun here folks and take your spawn to a chain please.
I can't wait to return. I'm delighted to have found my NEW favorite Italian restaurant.
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