Not an all out reveiw. I met two college friends here for dinner, and we picked Bacio on its central location to each of us more than anything else.
A lot of money has gone into the decor and treatments. They must need to recoup the investment by pricing menu items higher than the quality dictates. The menu is what one might expect from a large Italian restaurant in the suburbs -- lots of options for salads, pizza, pasta, and entrees. But, according to our waiter, the restaurant is known for its "fish card," a list of daily fish/seafood specialties. We all ordered from this list. I opted for the cioppino ($20), figuring it would be the telltale dish of whether or not an Italian restaurant is worth its salt.
It's not. The dish was served in a flattish, oval dish that one might expect for a primi pasta course. The shrimps were small. Teh fish pieces also. And what should've been a saffron broth (according to the menu description) more closely resemebled marinara. The tomato flavor took too much center stage, and the seafood had been swimming in it for too long to retain much of its own individual character. My companion orderd sea bass ($23) and halibut, one of two preparations ($21). They were satisfied enough with their dishes, but no one was having a foodgasm.
But the restaurant will succeed well enough. The design is nice. The food is predictably above Olive Garden quality, which is all you have to do to have a successful Italin restaurant in the Twin Cities. The wine list is full of labels the diners would recognize, but which aren't good Italian food wines let alone good food wines period.
I had the longest drive of the three of us, and I can say I won't be making that drive again. Or if I do, I'll keep going further west to Ravello in Long Lake for better quality food, and better quality for the money, and an interesting wine list.
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