Having read all the positive reviews on this board, I was excited to finally dine at Bellavitae with a party of 4 before a show at the Blue Note last Friday. I didn't anticipate that I would have gone to Bellagio, Italy for a surprise trip just days before this dinner. All the better, for I had a good point of reference.
In short, food was good, but didn't meet my expectations, especially the highly recommended fried meatballs and the cauliflower. The best dishes we had were the squid-ink pasta, the caprese with buffalo mozzarella, and the panna cotta. Given how good the mozzarella was, i regretted not getting more items that didn't require cooking: cheese plate or the olive oil tasting. But then again, the prosciutto was not great, so maybe not.
On to the service. There were two low points in the night. Each incident in isolation would not have left too negative an impression, but together they point to a general attitude that I cannot overlook. The first occurred when we ordered a bottle Nozze d'oro, the Sicilian white that my fiance and I had drunk the night we got engaged. A couple minutes later the man I assume to be the sommelier came by and apologized that they are out of that wine and offered us another white, a pinot grigio, instead. Pinot grigio? I explained that the Nozze d'oro was a special pick. The guy had to think a moment. "oh, you've had that wine before?" Yes, I am not enough of a wine stud to pick a winner without having heard of or drunk it. Shouldn't he, as a rule, assume that I had picked the wine for a reason anyway? Then the guy went on to describe the pinot grigio he offered as "atypical of pinot grigio, you'll find it more similar to a sicilian white." I took his words, but after tasting the wine, realized it was just false promotion. It is a very typical pinot grigio. I would have sent it back if it weren't for John Scofield waiting for us at the Blue Note.
The second incident happened when I ordered a fritatta for my entree. I was still jetlagged. It was about 3am Italian time. Time for some eggs. The fritatta was listed under entrees. Perfect, except the server had to question my choice: "Do you KNOW what a fritatta IS?" He asked. I have not been quizzed at a restaurant like this before, especially not with this tone of delivery. I can totally see that he might had to deal with complains like "what is this? i ordered an entree, not a breakfast omlette!", but there must be a less patronizing way of making sure I knew what I was getting myself into, like, "just to clarify, we use x # of eggs and just a little prescuitto in the fritatta, and it doesn't come with anything else."
Anyway, like I said, the food was good, but not special enough for me to return, especially now that they took off the Nozze d'oro off the wine list.