I won't say the name of the restaurant, but if you know me well enough, you will figure out what it is. It's an Italian "Bistro" that is about 3 doors down from one of our favorite watering holes (that I mention on here a lot).
We walked in, and were immediately greeted by a server that seemed surprised by our presence. We were sat quickly, and handed menus and the wine list. The first thing I noticed was the decor. It was like they couldn't decide whether to be upscale, or just a family-friendly checkered tablecloth restaurant. Here's a hint- putting a Guy Buffet poster in a frame doesn't make for fancy art.
The wine list was fine- fairly well chosen, and stuck to their theme of being mainly Italian, with a bit of American wines on there. We chose a Paitin Nebbiolo d'Alba, a nice little wine for the price (I think it was $33).
I will have to say from the beginning that the service was astonishingly bad. I don't know if it was because our waitress was slammed (she might have been the only one on duty), or just couldn't handle 6 tables. She recommended the Lasagna, which I ordered, and Nicole got some pasta. We said that she would eat a couple of bites of the soup that I ordered as an appetizer. We had to ask for a spoon for the soup- which was brought to the table in a small bowl of additional soup by the bus boy (he was by far the shining spot in the service). The soup was bland- Nicole said that "Campbells makes better soup than this", it was completely void of either beans or pasta- either of which I thought usually went into this classic dish.
As a side note, the bread was stone cold. I'm not going to get into the whole bread basket debate, but IF you are going to serve bread that you don't make in-house, is it too hard to throw it into an oven for a couple of minutes before serving it? No, it's not.
The entrees were fine- the Lasagna was smothered in about 2 1/2 pounds of cheese, and I couldn't finish the portion.
Then the bartender walked over to us, with our check and said "Okay, here's your check". No thought from the waitress about asking us for dessert (which we wanted), or even trying to sell us anything. I asked for a dessert menu, and the waitress came over- apologized, and rattled off about 7 desserts in rapid-fire succession. We ordered Tiramisu (awful) and gooey butter cake (actually really good). I asked for Tua Rita to drink, and you would have thought I asked them to solve a Ramanujan equation or something. Tuaca was the closest they had heard of, so that's what I got.
In retrospect, it wasn't a bad meal, but for $100 out the door, I guess we're a bit spoiled and expected more. It was mediocre, which I can deal with. I just feel bad for a couple that doesn't go out often, or doesn't normally spend that sort of money on a meal, should they choose to go to this place.