Last week during a torrential downpour I snagged a cab to my dinner destination, Al Tiramisu . When I arrived, I was grateful to the manager for ushering me into the restaurant under a large umbrella. While waiting for friends to join -- I had arrived early -- I sat at the small, intimate bar enjoying a Prosecco and schmoozing with the manager. The dinner crowd built up and soon every table was full in this cozy, convivial spot. So far, "A" for ambiance and service.
But when my pals and I eventually sat down for dinner, I wondered whether this could be a case of style over substance. Specials were announced with appetizing descriptions, accompanied by a show of plates featuring several varieties of fresh fish and shellfish. If you stuck to the menu, selections were much more limited. Our crowd, having just returned from a week on the Italian Riviera, decided to try the sardines, a dish we had feasted on recently in Santa Margherita.
Perhaps it's unfair to compare, but the fish we tried here were so salty we asked if we might exchange it, which was done very graciously. The arugula salad with a thin slice of Parmesan cheese was just fine, but my pasta dish with pesto was another disappointment. I could hardly taste the basil, and the sauce didn't look remotely green.
Luckily, dinner was salvaged with dessert -- tiramisu, naturally -- and a glass of Limoncello on the house. I'm left wondering if I had tried the specials whether I would have fared better. But I'm not sure I'll make the effort.
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