There has been a smattering of posts on the reconstituted Cucina Paradiso, which is now located on Motor between Palms and National, on the west side of the street (sorry, terrible with addresses), and I had dinner there last night, and found out that while they have been open for two months, their GRAND OPENING is this Monday, June 20th, where they will be serving free appetizers and drinks.
This might be a good opportunity to check the place out. Last night's dinner was fine, I found the food overpriced and nothing fabulous or extraordinary. They bring out a basket of warm bread and olive oil with garlic and anchovy floating around in it. Had a caesar (with no anchovy, go figure), and I always love caesars so I'm not much of a critic. Had the salmon checca special, which was slightly undercooked (and I like my salmon rare) and somewhat fishy tasting. I appreciated the roasted slices of gold potato instead of the perfunctory mound of garlic mashed under the fish, and the asparagus that came with it was very good.
Dining companions had the house green salad, and the artichoke salad, both of which were enjoyed (I didn't try them). Other main dishes were the crab meat and linguine in a tomato sauce (which our server declared was one of the kitchen's best dishes), which looked somewhat congealed and too heavily sauced, and was also fishy; and the green and white fettucine with porcini, parmesan etc which was apparently good but I didn't try, and our last diner had the polenta appetizer for her main dish, which she loved and devoured and didn't hand out tastes. Desserts are made off site, and I had a very very good "fine apple tart" and I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream (which brought the price up to $10!) -- this was an excellent dessert, but as I noted, not made there.
Service was desultory. The busboys were great, but our server, while friendly, was dim. I ordered a glass of pinot grigio ($10), and was unaware that two of my friends ordered the same wine, and she never suggested a bottle, instead of the three, barely one third filled glasses she brought to the table. When I ordered my second glass to go with the fish, IT SUDDENELY OCCURRED TO HER TO SUGGEST A BOTTLE, which by then was too late. So we ended up shelling out $40 for four diminutive glasses of the same wine.
The tables on the perimeter of the restaurant were taken, but the place was not half full, and we all wondered what service would be like if the restaurant were even half full.
So the bill, including the dishes mentioned and three espressos, came to about $150 (that's 4 appetizers, three mains, 4 glasses of wine, one dessert, and 3 coffees). For the quality of food offered, HIGH.
But if I were around Monday I'd go for the free food and drinks, and see how they do.