I was immensely excited to head off to Bocca Restaurant last night, after reading a rave review in the Advocate a few weeks ago. Now, I'm not one to get my restaurant advice from the Advocate (TRUST me on this one...) but my dining companion insisted we try it, because he was impressed by their prix fixe menu. And by the end of the night? NOT impressed. In fact, we were so disappointed, we were trash talking every inch of the place all the way home.
The crowd here was much, um, older than I thought it was going to be. Not a day under 55 (except for the two of us). I don't know where I got the idea it was a younger crowd, but oh well.
The place is teeny tiny. Everywhere you walk, you're squeezing your way around lines of people, someone else's table, etc. And when you're dining, you'rethisclose to the people all around you. There are two bathrooms, also small, single stall, and it was reported by my companion that there is a curtain separating the toilet and the urinal so that there can be two occupants at a time. A curtain!
We paid about $16 per person, and we both got a house salad, a glass of wine, entree, and dessert. They also served us (cold) bread when we sat down, with some olives and a roasted head of garlic. The salad--mixed greens, apples, candied walnuts, some bits of mealy tomato, gorgonzola, and "famous" dressing--was just okay. It sounds more exciting than it was.
My entree, the cedar sea bass, was actually pretty good. It was moist and flaky with a mustard-y glaze, and was served over steamed string beans and (two) baby carrots, with some mashed potatoes. It was cooked to perfection and I finished every last bite.
My dining companion had the Zuppa Di Clams--clams with a chunky red sauce served over linguine. Nothing special. We both agreed that it needed more oomph.
The waitress informed another table around 7 p.m. that they were out of carrot cake for the night, so the dessert choices were pecan pie, banana cream pie, vanilla gelato, or cannoli. The waitress practically laughed in my face when I asked if the desserts were made on the premises (isn't that a fair question?!) We opted for the pecan pie and cannoli. Both mediocre. Then again, I'm spoiled by Libby's cannoli, and turn my nose up at store bought pie. With one coffee, one tea, and tax, our meal was just over $42 (of course, I'm viewing it as a $42 piece of fish but, you know, whatever!)
There's no other way to say this--the service sucked. I don't even think our waitress told us her name. She rushed around the entire time (the place was packed) and basically ignored us. At one point, she came over and said "Do you need anything else?" and before I could even get the words out of my mouth that we wanted the check, she turned immediately to her right and asked the table nexttous the same thing, then dashed. We waited about 25 minutes after finishing dessert to get the check.
Maybe we went on a bad night. If anyone else has been, I'm curious to know what you think!
Sorry for the lengthy review, chowhounds...but I hope it helps. If you want to check out Bocca, the info is below. You can also view their menu online.
190 Main Street
East Haven, CT 06512