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Some un-enchanted evenings: Cascadia and Cafe Juanita

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Restaurants & Bars

Some un-enchanted evenings: Cascadia and Cafe Juanita

Phyllis Patrone | Oct 5, 2003 11:34 AM

I'm posting to ask if others have had similar or contrasting experiences with these much-celebrated restaurants. My dining friends and I LOVE a night out, but in these tight times, I just don't know if it's worth the disappointments at these prices.

The good:
At Cascadia, the won ton appetizers were sublime, and the shared beef main course meltingly tender.
At Cafe Juanita, the sole standout was dessert, a giuandia fondue with autumn fruits and delicate cookies. Also, the wine steward knew his list cold and made a fine, reasonably priced recommendation.

The questionable:
At Cafe Juanita, the octopus appetizer. I'd read it's a knockout, but for my tastebuds, take me to Porta in Eastlake for a much more reasonably priced grilled octopus that we go back for on a weekly basis.

The downright bad:
At Cascadia, the wine service was amateur. Again, at most any other restaurant, I'd say no big deal, but when you're touting your wine list and pairings, where do you get a server who doesn't know how to open and pour? We commented on it at the end of the evening with the manager who looked a sheepish and said "well, he just started." Um....and...you're charging us $60-70 a head for ....?? Service overall was so awkward -- I'm not asking for SF or NYC, but it wrecks the evening to be sitting for 15 minutes before John Boy figures out you're his table.

At Cafe Juanita, the lamb shoulder was so salty, my friend and I had to send it back. I mean, chunks of rock salt. The meat was laced with fat, which I don't exactly associate with Liguria, despite the menu claim. The accompanying chickpeas and side dish were just chew objects.

We also had a wee hee moment when the bill was presented and split between our credit cards -- only one of us got billed for half and the other for the whole thing. Again, the sheepish shrug (where do they learn this?)

Anyhoo, just putting it out there for comment.

-Phyllis

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