Fun early Sunday supper at Il Casale tonight. I read about the gnocchi dish in the Globe this morning and it was on my brain all day. We watched the first period and a half or so of the Bruins game at home, scooted off to Belmont and 10 min later, we had two bar seats right in front of the TV with the game on...I called to make sure it would be on (no audio so don't bitch about the TV people!) by 5:15 pm. Started with barbera d'asti and montelpulciano by the glass. Calamari and arancini were both good as always, as was the complimentary potato bread. Gnocchi were feather-light. Porcini cream sauce was perfect to me. Wish there were more ramps in there, though. Barely perceptible. B got the pasta e fagioli soup (huge and hearty). Sides of the cauliflower gratin and truffle, spicy green beans (good, but nothing special), and broccoli rabe were too much...we were busting out at the seams after another glass of wine each. We got out of there for $130 after tip and the Bruins won! The sous-chef came out periodically to check the score - usually the TV is facing the kitchen so they can watch the game, but they kept it facing to the bar so we could watch. Love a kitchen that loves hockey as much as I do! And it didn't hurt that the bar snacks were great! Attentive and unobstrusive service at the bar. And Dante's bro picked up my scarf when it fell to the ground and on another occasion, he filled our water and checked up on us. We love that attention to detail.
This was in HUGE contrast to truly shitty service at the bar at Sweet Cheeks this past Wed for our first Sox game of the season. The brisket that B got was DRY DRY DRY and thick (B went to UT-Austin for grad school and UT-Houston for med school so he's had some good stuff). Potato salad, black-eyed peas, collard greens and farm salad were good. But both bartenders really sucked in terms of customer service. At one point, the female bartender picked up B's water glass to refill it and she jostled his $$ beer, spilling some. Instead of topping him off, she said, oops, sorry and went on her way. B was too surprised to even say anything, plus it's not his style and I wasn't going to override him, though I urged him to say something. The two bartenders (dark-haired girl and bearded, bald-ish guy) seemed more interested in chatting with each other than in doing their jobs. Of course, when it's time to pay up, she called B "hon." WTF? We are good tippers but I think I left 15%. I didn't post because our experience just didn't merit it but our smooth service tonight reminded me that although we're low maintenance, we actually do like to be taken care of sometimes. We miss Cambridge 1 in that space, if only for the friendly, earnest service.