This was a treat. The food is generally unimpeachable.
We ordered off the a la carte menu.
First, I had the salumni antipasto. All of the meats that came out, every single one, was just great. Nevertheless, I wouldn't order this dish (at least not as a stand alone), if only because there is something imbalanced about it -- it is just a lot of excellent salumni on a plate. I prefer to eat a smaller amount of salumni along with other antipasti, especially fresh olives.
Second, I had the pasta with crabmeat. Amazing. One of my favorite dishes at any restaurant. I also had the garganelli al Ragù Bolognese. I loved it. And I tried the seafood pasta dish -- also great. Nothing negative to say about the pastas, whatsoever.
Third, I tried the roasted turbot. This was good. But not great. It could have been great, but the taste of corn was just too promminent. It was so strong that other flavors, especially the innate flavor of the turbot, were overwhelmed.
We had a cheese course. Awesome.
The deserts were great, everyone of them. And the petit fours at the end were out of this world.
So, all in all, the food is excellent -- some of the best italian food I have ever eaten, on either side of the atlantic.
But the service was another matter. Don't get me wrong: the service was prompt and attentive. What lacked was grace/warmth. The waiter, who didnt crack a smile all night, was longwhinded and self-important. He was also gauchely transparent in his frequent attempts to upsell -- which really wasn't necessary, let alone seemly.
(I have a hard spot in my heart for waiters at expensive restaurants who try to upsell, and this waiter hit on that spot. For a moment, I thought about telling him off, getting up and leaving, though that certainly would have been an overreaction. But I had to fight the impulse -- I was that annoyed.)
When we first sat down, the waiter was unrelenting in steering us toward the tasting menu, even though several people on the table, one of whom had just recently had the tasting menu, had no interest in it and said so explicitly. In spite of this, the waiter continued to ask over and over, "Are you sure? I think you should reconsider. You are making a mistake." Way too persistent. He also kept insisting that we should order a third bottle of wine, also despite our protests. And finally, at the end of the meal, the waiter said he would like to bring us some limoncelli and we politely declined, explaining that we were sated and eager to get going. He retorted, well, dont worry you dont have to finish it -- just try it; I will bring smaller portions -- it would be a pity to leave without trying it. We caved in. The bill came and the limoncelli, full price, appeared on it. Not a big deal -- but not very gracious on the part of the waiter. I would have either charged us a reduced amount to reflect the reduced portions or even comped it given that the bill was already almost 1k for four people.
Bottom line: This place has excellent food. But given its prices, and its pretentions, it can be fairly faulted little things for which other restaurants may be forgiven (such as the turbot). It should also be faulted when its one of its waiters fails to show more grace and less greed). But if you get the right dishes (which isn't hard to do) and the right waiter, it may well be the best upscale italian dinner on offer.
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