I posted a question earlier about which steakhouse to go to. Though everyone suggested other places, it seems like no one has really tried Celestino's Italian Steak House, so I decided to give it a try.
This place tauts its use of USDA Certified Piedmontese beef. I overheard the waiter claim that its the only restaurant in the US to do so. I can't vouch if this is true or not. But supposedly it's leaner than regular cattle and the beef dosen't contain hormones and antibiotics.
I really wanted to try the Bagna Cauda to start, which is fresh veggies, with olive oil, garlic, and anchovy; but I let my friend decide the appetizer. So we had the Calamari Fritti ($9), I thought the rings were cut quite thin, and I would have preferred more tentacles in it. It came with some baby greens and a thin but good red sauce, that was probably a maranara of some type.
I had a perfectly cooked medium rare Fiorentina ($31) which was a 20 oz T-bone steak. I suppose although the beef is supposed to be leaner, it wasn't as juicy and tender as I would have liked at this price. My first bite was really really salty. I shared some of my less salty portions with my friends, and they commented that it was nice and very peppery. My side was the Truffled Potato Puree ($4.25), it was really buttery, which is good, but we were debating whether there actually was shaved truffles in it, or if the black flecks were pepper. Turns out it weren't pepper, but I've never tasted such bland truffle shavings, if it was truffle at all.
My two friends both had the Costat Di Bue ($29.50), which was a 14 oz ribeye. It was much jucier than my T-bone. One of them came out rare, when it was ordered medium-rare. She sent it back to the kitchen, but when it came back, it was a bit more charred and closer to medium well than medium rare. It was mentioned when the manager asked us how dinner was, he offered a brand new steak, but she declined it.
One friend also had the potato puree, and the other had the Veggies Medley ($5.00), which was a perfectly sauteed asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, and baby carrots in caramelized garlic and a bit of butter. The vegatables still had a fresh and crisp texture to it.
We didn't ask for it, but steaks can come with a choice of different sauces. Our waiter brought of three of his favorites, anyway. They were green peppercorn, porcini mushroom balsamic, and a bernaise sauce.
For dessert we selected the Passion Fruit Creme Brulee ($6). It was served in a shallow dish with a beautiful caramel crust, and a dusting of powered sugar. The first bite was surprisingly tart, probably attributed to the passion fruit. Then as we ate it, there was a strange aftertaste that was described as "pork" that became more and more pronounced. After a that, I didn't really like it.
Although the restaurant was about 1/4th capacity, the waiter was extremely slow unattentive to us, especially when we wanted to make our orders and when I wanted the check. Other than that, the waiter was friendly and not snobby, busboys were quick to refill our water and clearing the tables.
Final verdict? Good but not really worth the price. The steaks left a lot to be desired, which is unfortunate for this price. And why can I never find a restaurant with excellent service?? Maybe it's just me.