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Canelé in Atwater? Don't bother....


Restaurants & Bars 11

Canelé in Atwater? Don't bother....

mangiarebene | Mar 18, 2007 09:32 PM

In regard to Canelé in Atwater, I must agree with much of the comments from luswei and meganinlosfeliz... Osteria Nonni's never-changing menu, although predictable but good enough, had worn thin long ago and since I live within one block I was anticipating the pleasure of a cool new place to eat close to home. The menu looked inventive and interesting, though surprisingly limited, and being a vegetarian there was almost nothing suitable on the menu. The first time I went I did like being seated close to the next table (tables are crammed quite close together) reminiscent of European cafes, and initiated an instant conversation with the pleasant people at the adjoining table. On my second visit it prevented me from engaging in conversation with my dinner partner due the unending drama in overwrought valley-girl-speak of the 20-somethings sardined on my right side, fortunately we were at the end of the table so we were spared competition from the left. I ordered a tomato salad the first time I went and the squash salad and Nonni's spaghetti aglio/olio the second time, since that is the only vegetarian entree option. Friends I was with ordered the lamb and the beef bourguignon with noodles. The tomato salad was interesting and good, but the amount served for the price was disappointing... an entire meal could be had elsewhere for the price of this 'appetizer' sized salad. My friend said the 3 bite-sized lamb chops were edible but tasteless and not noteworthy, especially for the price. The second time I went, my other friend had a similar comment about the beef bourguignon, although there was a decent amount served this time, he said it was without flavor. The squash salad was tasty and the merging of squash with caramellized onions created a unique, roasted flavor which both I and my friend quite enjoyed. It was served with a small amount of arugula (?) which seemed a bit of a miss – not enough to make it easily combine with the squash, but too much to be a garnish. My pasta was overdrained, dry, undercooked, and overloaded with pepperoncini which killed ANY taste of the small amount of garlic... Garlic – the taste of which should the dominant in aglio/olio, was non-existant. Along with that, the pasta water had not been sufficiently salted leaving it flat and when I asked for some parmigiano I was given a small dish with a scant tablespoon which was again flavorless and obviously not of good quality ... at least the owner of Nonni's (who was not Italian by the way) knew how to properly cook pasta and infuse the correct amount of ingredients to create an adequate flavor for each of his dishes (maybe the new owner and staff should have taken some lessons from his cooks before opening). The wait staff was responsive when requests were made, but seemed disengaged and not too concerned about serving the clientele. Overall there seems to be a miscalcuation of ingredient proportions and lack of flavor to the dishes... but for the finale, as we were leaving the owner (?) asked how my pasta was and I replied that it was OK, but not great. She asked why and I politely tried not to get into a lengthy explanation, but she and the chef insisted. When I finally did give them my honest opinion, they became obviously annoyed and defensive, and with a 'what–ever' attitude the owner rolled her eyes and said, "well, thanks for telling us anyway" and turned away... surprising, why ask for and insist on an answer if you don't want to know?? Grow up girls and act like professionals...

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