Had a very good dinner at Vivoli last night. The strip mall location was an eyesore, but the food was close to -- but not quite -- top notch.
We started with spinach salads, they happily let us substitute balsamic vinagrette for the mustard based dressing, and the combination of spinach, goat cheese and beets worked well.
The penne with salmon was outstanding, a dish that I'd return again and again for. The spaghetti bolognese was pretty good, the scallops were fresh and tasty. The mushroom risoto was the only disappointment, made more so because our waiter recommended it. Pasta is the name of the game here and they do it right. I'd be leary about veering too off course from what they do well.
The waiter was hospitable, albeit a little strange, in the middle of taking our order I asked if I could get Pinot Noir by the glass and he stopped wriing and left for 5 minutes to check before coming back to tell us it was not available. He was nice enough though and agreed to open a non-by-the-glass Pinot, which was ok, but have had much better.
Overall Vivoli was pretty good, but I concur with past threads which question the 27 rating from Zagat. I would say it's in the 23-24 range for food, which is pretty good overall, basically they had a couple of dishes which were exquisite, but others which were good not great, and one which missed by a mile.
Would definitely return, but think I might bring my own bottle with me....
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