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Restaurants & Bars 8

The Italian Barrel

kibbles | Jul 28, 2009 03:07 PM

we tried this new northern italian place on Barracks & Decatur. sigh.

as far as looks go, it had my hopes up - outdoor seating, white table clothes, candles, well dressed waitstaff...far cry from whatever was there before. it was a gorgeous cool evening and i was excited, really wanted this place to succeed.

first the menu -- expensive. the *salads* were all $15. the apps were around $15 (no simple items like, oh, bruschetta..), the cheese plate was $32 (what!?), pastas $15+, the filet & osso buco were $38. seriously folks, these prices are more than Maximo's. wine was also expensive, most red glasses in the $10-15 range..for a Decatur street, sidewalk, northern italian joint, id expected something else.

the bread they gave us was stock and the crunchy bread sticks store-bought. i ordered the Gorgonzola Ravioli In Mushroom Cream Sauce With Toasted Walnuts, she had the Pesto Fettuccine. no apps or salads due to high prices (did it progressive style and had those elsewhere).

my pasta looked good! delicate, not bloated at all. so far so good... till i asked for fresh grated parm since none was provided, and received powered which was likely store-bought. i noticed there were no toasted nuts on it - waitress said due to salmonella outbreaks none are being imported so theyre off the dish. Riiight. as i ate i noticed the ravioli didnt have much gorgonzola cheese, instead ricotta - waitress explained its also filled with ricotta. yeah im gonna say "mostly" filled with ricotta.. i didnt detect any mushroom in the sauce either, it was just a basic cream sauce. i dont even think they offered fresh cracked pepper.

so basically my $15 ravioli, which i ate in 5 minutes, had nothing to do w/ the menu.

her fettuccine was inedible -- their pesto seemed to be lacking any/much cheese thus way too heavy on the basil. super, super bitter. love pesto but just couldnt eat it. had we not been in good spirits (and doubted much better would be in store) we would have sent it back. waitress didnt ask about it.

sadly, folks, this place is a failure. i wanted to like it because shes done a wonderful job w/ the space & aesthetic, but the menu & execution fell hard...

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