Restaurants & Bars

Il Piccolo Forno, Long Branch

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Il Piccolo Forno, Long Branch

Deb Van D | Mar 2, 2003 09:49 AM

I dined with a friend on Thursday at Il Piccolo Forno in West End. We arrived at 7 and we were one of four occupied tables on this frigid night. There was a gift of bruschetta from the kitchen, good, unremarkable. We split a starter of crab-stuffed mushrooms that were delicious, not overcooked, not a trace of cartilage (phew! Hate that). We ordered the same entrée, roasted salmon with roasted potatoes, capers, red peppers and artichokes. The portions were generous and the food was delicious, each of the ingredients cooked properly.

Our only disappointment with the experience was distinctly separate from the food. The waitress was a hearty sort, honey, doll, darlin', sweetheart, babe… I really thought my gusher had come in at last. She was very nice, though, very efficient, and we chalked it up to differences in style. The owner, unfortunately, strode about the dining room, puffed like a pigeon, and talked volubly on his cell phone. Yick. I had heard a rumor that he often 'entertains' by singing to his guests, and I had been holding my breath on that (not wanting to sit there with that stupid smile on my face), but it might have been an improvement on the cell phone performance.

We had lingered to the wee, small hours (9:00) catching up on news and finishing our wine. The owner made a loud remark from the other side of the room, "What's with table 22? Let's wrap it up, come on!" and flipped out the light over our table. We took the subtle hint and put on our coats, but I was pretty turned off. I did find it absolutely necessary to cross the room to tell the owner and the waitress that we had really enjoyed the food, but that I did not appreciate his lack of civility. There were protests, apologies and denials all around, all fine and dandy, but it took some of the fun out of the evening. The thing is, we really did enjoy the food, and there are few enough places in my area to eat well. Will I go back?

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