La Bruschetta Restaurant
1317 St. Clair Ave West (St Clair & Dufferin)
moni & her coworkers were looking for a summerlicious dinner outting -- i tried to get impromptu reservations @ zucca & allo bistro (we were looking for $20 dinners outside of downtown), we settled on La Bruschetta .. a fair number of options for each course (4-5 options each) at $20, it seemed promising enough ..
this family-run joint is supposedly frequented by celebrities who happen to be in town .. a collection of celebrity-signed plates adorn the front entrance .. at 6pm, the place was still relatively quiet ..
we were served complimentary bruschetta, enough for all 5 of us .. very tasty, a nice balance of tart, savoury & herbs, made chiefly w/ tomatos & onions .. i recall the bread lightly toasted, but i can't be sure ..
the hot peppers in olive oil were fabulous .. antipasti-type peppers went great with the bread basket, on their own, even finding its way into our mains (more on this later) .. nice burst of heat with a bit of flavour, even the heat-averse were enjoying these ..
to start, the Insalata Caprese .. with fresh mozzarella & basil drizzled with olive oil .. the mozza was very light, with the faintest taste of dairy .. the onions provided a nice idea to add some flavour, but after a few bites it was overpowering .. the tomatoes were firm but too mild in tartness & sweetness .. the basil added no flavour .. a sprinkle of salt & twist of pepper helped ..
the Cozze Marinara was also available as a starter -- mussels in a tomato, garlic, & wine sauce .. the mussels barely scraped by in freshness .. the thickness & flavouring of the sauce worked great with the mussels & bread, but i don't recall the garlic being prominent ..
moni's Fusilli Capricciosa was quite good .. in a creamy tomato sauce w/ italian bacon, olives & rosemary -- it was not overwhelmingly creamy, with bacon providing a good saltiness .. our adlib addition of the antipasti hot peppers turned it from quite good to fantastic ..
i had the Fettuccine Mare e Monte .. as advertised, this was made with garlic, olive oil, vegetables & scallops .. absolutely nothing more -- resulting in an awfully bland pasta .. very little garlic, and even less flavour .. the scallops were fine, but the pasta was difficult to eat until it was salted, mixed w/ the antipasti hot peppers, & dipped in moni's creamy fusilli sauce .. on its own, complete flop ..
i also had a taste of an angel hair pasta .. slightly more flavour than the fettucini, but not by much ..
moni had the Chocolate Tartufo -- they were "out" of the tiramisu on the menu (odd, since we were one of the first patrons finished that evening) .. they bring out stainless steel martini glasses .. with half .. HALF a tartufo in it .. ?? wow .. skimpin' .. that really knocked the experience down a few notches .. they served us bottled ice tea for $3.50 .. they could at least give us a whole tartufo -- you can get tartufos at loblaws cheap ..
the Chocolate Profiterol were cream puffs covered in chocolate mousse .. the cream puff were most likely outsourced, there was nothing special about these ..
i understand that culinary economics are a big factor, & that i should be grateful for summerlicious "Prix Fixe" menus .. however, restaurants should use this opportunity to turn one-time visitors into regulars -- Zucca & Boulevard spared no expense, and i hope i've generated some additional business in their direction .. skimping & generating negative publicity is worse than no publicity at all ..
i looked for online reviews for La Bruschetta, and i see nothing but rants/raves -- albeit somewhat outdated .. i am willing to excuse this experience as a summerlicious misstep .. but it will be a long while before i venture back ..