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Manhattan

Bottino (disappointing) & Sosa Bollera (unexpectedly lovely)...long!

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Bottino (disappointing) & Sosa Bollera (unexpectedly lovely)...long!

Lici | Nov 14, 2005 04:25 PM

Friday night we had reservations for a group of 8 at Bottino. The restaurant was pretty full when we arrived for our 730p reservation, and the hostess was accomodating about seating our incomplete party. Our table was set up in what looked like the garden area, but with a tarp over it. It was damp and cold and they didn't turn on the heaters until we were seated. My boyfriend and I shared the fritto misto, which was great, except it came without a sauce. I'm not sure if it's supposed to or not, but any salty, fried dish should have a sauce of some sort, IMO. For entree I had the tagliata, a shell steak prepared med. rare. While the meat was tender, it was also very bland and the undercooked tuscan beans that came with it didn't enhance the dish at all. My boyfriend and several others ordered the lasagna and I was lucky enough to sample some of theirs. It was delicious, not too watery or dry. Another friend let me sample his ravioli and it tasted all too similar to the frozen kind, with nothing special as a stuffing. For dessert I was torn between a tiramasu or the creme caramel. We asked our server and he suggested the tiramasu. Thankfully, another person ordered the creme caramel, because the tiramasu was practically inedible, not to mention the cocoa powder that went up our nose everytime we took a bite. The service throughout the dinner was fair, the waiter always seemed to be around when we needed another bottle of wine but couldn't be found when our water glasses were low. Our primary waiter was chilly, treated us like a 2nd class table, and would often suggest several items on the menu as his favorite dish. It made me want to ask "What on the menu do you NOT recommend?" And being stuffed away in the chilly room didn't help, the heaters never seemed to heat up to their full potential, but as the room filled up with people the combined body heat made it bearable. When we got the check, one person was smart enough to check the bill and sure enough, there was an extra bottle of wine added on that we hadn't ordered. When we questioned it, the extra bottle was removed immediately, suspiciously as if they wanted to see if we'd catch it or not. Very sneaky, and that alone, not to mention the hit-or-miss food or the mediocre service, guarantees I'll never return.

Sosa Bollera (the Tribeca location), on the other hand, was an unexpectedly delightful experience. We had a party of 6, and once again my boyfriend and I arrived before everyone else. When we checked with the host/bartender, he couldn't find our reservation anywher eon their book and one quick phone call confirmed our friend had made reservations at the midtown location. No problem, they were very accomodating and assured us that we'd have a table (all this in a medium sized restaurant in Tribeca on a Saturday night). I was impressed. In the meantime, they invited us to the bar, provided us with complimentary olives and the bartender chatted with us for a while. My boyfriend and I both ordered prosecco, a particular favorite of mine, and when our glasses got to the 1/2 point, the bartender was nice enough to refill them again, on the house. Once the rest of our party arrived we were seated immediately. We ordered the mussels, cheese platter and baked mozzerella to start but before they came out, our waiter brought over warm bread and a chimichurri-like sauce for dipping. Delicious, and such a nice change from the usual bread and butter. The appetizers were all delicious, but the favorites were the mozzerella and the mussels. The sauce the mussels were in was absolutely divine and unfortunate that the waiter took them away before I had a chance to dip a piece of bread in to really savor it. For entree I had the pollo milanessa, a breaded cut of chicken topped with 2 fried eggs, reminded me of an argentinian version of a schnitzal (sp?). Very good. My boyfriend had the spagetti bolognese and his only remark while scarfing it down was that they didn't skimp on the bolognese. We had a delicious malbec that worked well with all of our entrees and the servers were attentive and accomodating throughout the meal. The only unfortunate part of the meal was that we were meeting up with friends elsewhere for dessert, so we didn't get to try any of them, although I'll have to go back just to try the crepes and see how authentic their dulce de leche is. Overall, the entire evening was lovely and I can't wait to do it all over again, very soon.

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