Our first impression was that Via Emilia's snack-bar looks and ambiance was not in-line with their moderate-to-above-moderate prices,
Then came the parade of bad, and sometimes laughably bad, service.
I am aware that they've just recently obtained their liquor licence, but when they hand you a wine list headlined with "...serve only wines from Emiglia-Romagna...", one would assume that they would be knowledgeable about their wines from that region. Well our waiter didn't have a clue, and neither did the other person whom he called over and whom we figured as the head waiter given that during our dinner we noticed that he seemed to be attempting to do the directing and commandeering of the staff. Plus, for still wines priced between $28 and $55, one would at least expect them to make sure that the vintages would be listed with the names of all the wines.
Rather than recount our experience on their service, a perfect example were the diners next to us, an elderly couple who waited forever for their waiter to take their order, who had to ask a passing bus boy for bread 25 minutes after they sat down, and whose shared dishes of mussels appetizers, pasta dish and lamb shank entre dish all came within 15 seconds after one another (which was as early as 15 seconds after their bread arrived). The poor onfused couple's small table was literally cramped with various dishes of steaming food, that they didn't know what to start with.
The redeeming factor was that the dishes that we had were good to very good! The tortellini pasta with truffle oil was nicely done and tasted great with a nice sprinkling of fresh parma cheese. My wife's monkfish dish on a bed of a ragout of vegetables, a special for the day, was quite good. The pork chop dish - a thick, juicy, nicely-done with the slightest of pink color in the center, and perfectly-seasoned was very good. We didn't stay around for dessert.
Don't get me wrong about my rant on the service. I described it as confusing and chaotic, but it does appear that they are trying hard. Unfortunately, they seem to have scrimped on the training and hiring of good staff and put most of their investment in the kitchen and the large space that they occupy. Nevertheless, given the good dishes, we will look forward to makijng our way back and, hopefully by then, their service issues would have been straightened out.