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Restaurants & Bars

Barolo - Should I go back? (long)

Stanley Stephan | Jun 24, 200202:35 PM

I went to Barolo up near Twin Peaks last night. There were some usually fatal flaws, but there were some very good items. I really liked that there were some creative and different touches. Who has tried it? What did you like? What should I stay away from?

The Good……

Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar for dipping had chopped garlic and a mix of herbs. You spooned this excellent mixture on the bread. It tasted like chopped sun-dried tomato, but the waiter said it was herbs.

Baby arugula tossed with pancetta and honey vinaigrette topped with goat cheese and mango. The fresh goat cheese and mango was an inspired combination (7.95).

The cherry crème caramel was a beautiful pink with a honey sauce that complemented it perfectly. It tasted as good as it looked. Best cherry taste I’ve had in a dessert. It tasted like fresh Bing cherries (6.50).

The vegetables with the entrée were a mixture of baby green beans, carrot sticks and green and red cabbage. Liked the unusual touch of the cabbage. Vegetables could have been cooked longer.

Suggested wines with the specials. I always like that.

The bad, AKA, fatal flaws …

The bread came to the table warm … turns out it was heated in a microwave so as it cooled it started to turn rock hard. Would have been better if they left it cold. This was ok because the olive oil for dipping was very good and the dryer the bread got, the more oil it soaked up, and actually the better the whole thing tasted. This, IMO, was just a lucky accident.

When you ask the waiter for a suggestion, don‘t take what is suggested. They are trying to push dishes that didn’t sell. Bad, bad, bad, bad idea.
I asked whether I should get the roasted rosemary chicken or the home made Ravioli stuffed with sea scallops, bay shrimps, sole, ricotta cheese served with shitake mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes in a basil garlic vodka sauce.

The waiter said chicken. What was I thinking? I’m still drooling over the description of the ravioli. Later I hear the kitchen staff, talking in Spanish about how good the chicken is. Turns out they had a lot left and the staff got the leftovers for dinner.

The chicken was underdone. This was 9:30 pm on a Sunday night. There is no excuse for the chicken not being done by then. I may be mistaken, but I think they removed most of the skin before serving … naked chicken. The light rosemary garlic sauce that covered the chicken had a rich chicken broth flavor and rescued the dish (14.95)

This is a pleasant enough restaurant with clouds on the ceiling, peach walls with painted vines. However the staff was closing up the restaurant and left the kitchen door open so I could hear the dishwasher and a symphony of pots and pans clanging while the staff chatted in Spanish loud enough for me to hear in the front of the rather small restaurant. I’m letting this pass because it was late Sunday night.

The lack of English by the staff was really not a good thing. I asked for a recommendation for wine with the chicken and got the same wine as I had with the salad. Big confusion. They thought I said I wanted another wine instead of please make a recommendation. There were quite a few tortured conversations. The prices are too high to not have at least one person clearly communicate in English. Maybe it was just the late Sunday timeslot problem.

I’ve passed this restaurant a million times since my mom had been at Laguna Honda for years. I see it is usually full. Another good point is that there is plenty of parking. So, is it worth another try? I’m guessing it is a good neighborhood restaurant and probably the most creative in the area.

It is heads above the awful Boca Roti which deserved to go out of business … soon to be replaced by a Squat and Gobble.

There’s sort of a review below. I guess there is an early bird special where you get soup/salad, an entreé, and a scoop of homemade gelato for $14.99.

There is a bottle of Barolo wine on the menu.


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