Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Updated

It was a surprise to me when my partner decided he wanted to listen to fado music at Cera Una Volta on Sunday evening. We went out with another couple and attended the second seating at the restaurant at 7 pm. When we got there, the band and performer had already played for one and a half hours. Everyone in the room appeared happy and content with the music and songs. Our group paid for the more expensive seating at $55 per person. The first seating was $45 per person, well knowing they were to leave the premise at 7 pm for the second seating.

Our group waited patiently for our table to clear since the second seating was suppose to occur at 7 pm. Unfortunately, the hostess/owner of the restaurant could not manage the guests for the first seating and people were not leaving the room. The performers did not stop playing at 7 pm and so people stayed and continued to sit at their tables.

Our table of four waited for one hour before we were seated, which was a huge gaffe. When we finally made it to our table, the wait service was not attentive. The other mistake was that the employees circulated two different food menus and we asked the waiter which one was the correct version.

The prix fixe meal of $55 per person was for a three-course meal, an antipasta dish, secondi and a dessert. By the time we finally got to order, it was close to 8:30 pm and the wait staff knew our group was upset due to their own mismanagement. Thus, they gave our table a break and we ended up with a four-course meal, the added dish was a primi. With all of the drama happening at our table, the wait staff forgot to give our table our complimentary glass of asti spumati that was somehow delivered to all of the tables with the exception of ours.

The saving grace for the evening was the great music. My friends were knowledgeable in fado music and hoped for more somber music, but the band kept on performing happy, gay songs due to Valentine's Day. The singer sang most of her songs in English instead of the native Portuguese. The band stopped playing around 8:45 pm which was a total bummer since we barely had our first course. If the restaurant was on their game, we could have enjoyed all of our courses with the lovely music. However, we felt somewhat neglected and had the singer perform a Portuguese song at our table. That was the most fabulous part of the entire evening.

Luckily, the four courses were palatable and our friends enjoyed the food. My first course was the spiedini. The shrimp was slightly overcooked, but the flavors were spot on. My friend had six oysters, three raw and three barbecued. Both were equally delicious. The mushroom ravioli was a big success since the cream sauce was perfect. The lobster ravioli was a miss since the sauce and pasta were both bland. The lobster ravioli was heart shaped and was cute, but the flavors did not live up to the presentation of the food. Three people at the table had filet mignon and mash potatoes for their main courses. They all enjoyed their food. I ordered the stuffed pepper with a vegetable souffle with brussel sprouts. The dish did not work. The pepper was flattened out like a pancake, where I envisioned the pepper to be up right. The texture was mushy, which was not acceptable for a main course. The brussel sprouts had a very bitter taste and it did not compliment the other vegetables of asparagus and grilled red peppers. I ate about half the food on the plate and stopped.

We had two different desserts at the table. One dish was the panna cotta and the other was the hazelnut chocolate cake. These desserts were the favorites of the waiter. My friends enjoyed their panna cotta desserts. However, I did not care for the hazelnut chocolate dessert. The flavor was boring and did not stand out. I left half on the plate.

I enjoyed the music and the company, but the hostess/owner did not have the courage to come over to our table and ask how the meal was. She knew she was part of the problem and not the solution.

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