We tried to go to a restaurant near this place and there was an hour wait for a table. I was too hungry to wait an hour. I get grumpy when I get hungry. And mean. So we started driving around aimlessly not knowing where we were going to eat dinner but knowing it had to be soon. Then we saw this place. It’s right by a major mall, so I had been looking at it for years thinking one day I had to try it. I had no idea it was a chain restaurant until I walked in. There are a lot of people who loath chain restaurants and refuse to eat in them. Well, I’m not one of those people! If the food is good and the people are nice, you can call it a chain, a string, a sequence, a conglomeration, I don’t care! I’m going to eat there and return if it’s good! And guess what? I can’t wait to return to this place!
Here’s what we decided on:
First, the bread. It’s warm, fresh and a really hearty bread. I asked the waitress what was in the seasoned olive oil they give you to dip it in, and she said sundried tomatoes, roasted peppers, and probably a list of herbs longer than her arm. It was really good and a nice change from the normal oil and Balsamic mix.
Now, the next dish pictured is the Organic Chicken Meatballs with creamy polenta and pesto. The funny thing is we really wanted to try this and the Calamari, but thought it would be too much, so we just went with the calamari. Then the manager shows up, and says she’s got a little “lagniappe” (a little something extra) for us, and gives it to us on the house! THAT’S the kind of thing that develops loyal customers! And the dish was great.
I never had calamari that had been cut into straight strips, kind of like French fries. It made them much easier to dip and eat. And they were fantastic. Very tender. The lemon aioli dipping sauce was very good with them.
The lobster bisque was also very good. After the waitress put it on our table and walked away, I realized some oyster crackers would be good with it. But once I started eating it I couldn’t stop, so by the time she came back, it was gone.
We ordered a side Caesar salad with one of our entrées. This “side” salad covered the whole plate. The house-made Caesar dressing was really good.
My dining partner had the Spaghetti Cacio E Pepe. They described it as , “Spaghetti with 3 simple, but ‘full-of-flavor’ ingredients – aged Grana Padano Zanetti, creamy butter and fresh cracked black pepper”. The pasta was cooked perfect, and it was cheesy, peppery and buttery, without being too heavy and too rich. She got a couple of the organic grass fed beef and pork meatballs to go with it. Both were really delicious.
And speaking of delicious, I had the Shrimp Fra Diavolo. Nice size shrimp, again, perfectly cooked pasta, and a creamy tomato sauce.
Oh, and when the waitress brought our entrées she also bought a BLOCK of Parmesan cheese and a cheese grater to the table! If you want cheese on your pasta they don’t mess around!
Fantastic dinner. I highly recommend this place.