Restaurants & Bars 3

al di la

Steve R. | Jul 31, 2005 11:02 AM

So, after waiting 50 minutes in Tempo's bar for a table at al di la (scroll down a little to see my posting about al di la's winebar), we were called and seated. There were three of us. We ordered a bottle of wine from the very friendly waitress & my wife tasted it. Sent it back -- corked. First of all, no problem with taking it back -- unconditional acceptance of our dislike for the wine. But then the owner could be seen in the back tasting it and clearly agreeing with us. I liked that he wanted to confirm it for himself. So, we ordered another of the same. This one was better but not really okay. We accepted it and started drinking it, but then the waitress went out of her way to come by & ask, so my wife told her that it was off. Now, here's where you can see the professionalism of the place. No hesitation again -- took the wine away, even though we were hesitant to make the request, since it was drinkable but not what it was supposed to be. This time the owner tasted it and could be seen shaking his head. I thought we were in for a "how picky are you about a $30 bottle" discussion, but he came over and we had a conversation about them now having to return the case and, if we want, he'll open a different case so we can have a bottle of this specific wine. His head shaking had been about his disappointment, not with our fussiness. We ordered a more expensive bottle instead. When it came, we asked him if he'd like to sit with us & taste first, but he chuckled and declined. It was fine. You know, it's awkward, potentially embarrassing moments like this that can define a restaurant & many good restaurants fail. This was handled better than I've ever seen it done & kept the entire process moving without any downside for management, waitress or customers. I am very impressed.

Now for the food: my wife and friend (in this case, 2 separate people) split a special white asparagus with fried egg and shaved parm. on top appetizer that was very very good. They raved about it so much, I just had to try it. I agreed. I had the tripe app. which was, in my opinion, just about perfect. Whatever "gravy" they conjure up for this beats others I've had by a longshot. Entrees were also excellent, although we didnt opt for some of the special things (ie; lemon risotto) that looked & smelled great when they passed by. Our friend had a very tasty monkfish, my wife a less adventurous (but good) shell steak & I had rabbit with polenta, a dish that they do quite well. Very satisfying stuff -- very happy campers. Three espressos and one slice of pear with chocolate chunks (!!) split 3 ways (who's the dessert chef? -- this was outstanding).

This was a very good meal. I even liked the bread this time.

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