Well, despite my intentions to try Johnny's Half Shell on Friday night, the DH was in a more Italian mood, so we went to Al Tiramisu down the street.
Upon entering, we were asked if we had a reservation. We replied in the negative and the hostess seemed greatly displeased. After grumbling a bit, she said, "okay, you can have a table, but you have to be out by 8:30." It was 7 pm. This did not put me in a good mood. Maybe they need to have the table cleared for a reservation, but it's rude to put a time limit on dining, I think. (hasn't this come up in Tom Sietsema's live chat before?) Anyway, she needn't have worried...
Upon being seated (and there were plenty of empty tables in the small space) a waiter came by quickly and asked if we wanted anything to drink. My husband ordered a coke and I replied with my usual "water for now." Since we were headed to the Brickskeller for drinks later, I wasn't sure I was in a wine mood, but I usually wait to see what I feel like eating and then order the wine. Well, apparently our waiter gave up on us, because he removed the wine glasses and wine menu immediately - I had to ask for it back! We'd only been seated 30 seconds and he's snatching away glassware and menus.
We were somewhat impressed with the way a tray with uncooked fish was brought around to show us the seafood specials. I ended up ordering the calamari and my husband, the ravioli in sage butter. We held off on appetizers and salads in fear we'd be there too long...again, we need't have worried. And we probably should have ordered something additional, since in the traditional italian style, the dishes are served without sides or salads, everything must be ordered separately - a fact we realized when our food arrived less than 5 minutes after we ordered it. Our server did manage to bring out the VERY yummy bread in the meantime, but, like I said, we barely had time to eat it before our meals arrived. Hmmm, wonder how long those have been sitting out?
Anyway, the bread was delicious and for the most part our meals were too. My DH's ravioli was really nice - just a simple combination of butter, sage, spinach, cheese, and pasta, without being complicated or complex. The grilled calamari did come with a few limp vegetables and slices of roasted potato, and the calamari itself was very tasty, if perhaps splashed with a little too much olive oil.
Of course, our plates were removed within seconds of our leaving them clean and the check presented rapidly. Ah, that delicate balance between getting prompt service and getting rushed out! Of course, by then we already felt rushed.
From entering to leaving was about 45 minutes - a new record, I think. We needn't have worried about waiting or not making it to meet our friends for drinks in time.
Anyway, I thought the food was overpriced for what we got and of course rather put off by the service and the rush job we got. Doubt I'll be going back.
Oh, and I never ordered any wine. Didn't have time.