Restaurants & Bars

Manhattan

Cantinella is HORRIBLE

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Cantinella is HORRIBLE

dixieday | Mar 30, 2004 03:35 PM

This place on Avenue A got a ton of press when it first opened, but I haven't seen any actual reviews since, and with good reason. It's awful and hugely overpriced all the way around. Long, narrow room with too many tables. Gray walls facing an ugly, fluorescent-lit bar. The lighting is dimmish and the overall effect is cold and drab.
The Italian menu is very generic, with no real regional slant--that's because they really want you to order off the much more expensive, verbal specials menu. We had to make our poor waiter recite (in hard-to-understand, thickly accented English) the list three or four times--when there are at least a dozen specials, there's NO excuse for not printing them up and attaching them to the menu. One good thing: hot, nicely fried zucchini blossoms filled with mozzarella, served with light tomato sauce. Otherwise, the ravioli were tough and undercooked, filled with a bland puree of broccoli rabe (no sign of the promised sausage), a smallish round piece of veal ($34!) was thick and tough, orata was pleasant but overwhelmed by a blanket of sauteed cherry tomatoes. Everything seemed to come with tomatoes, all of which were oversalted and otherwise as flavorless as any tomato in March. Asparagus had a undefinable but awful taste, something like rancid oil, burnt garlic, and propane, and the mixed-berries with too-sweet zabaglione included a heap of raspberries that were completely moldy and disgusting. Biscotti were break-a-tooth hard and flavorless. Avoid this place!

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