Restaurants & Bars

Liliana's South County

sorealfood1 | Feb 16, 2008 06:20 AM

Just went to Liliana's last night and felt like I got robbed. True, the place looks the part, very nicely redone. The lighting was low, fixtures were lush. Kind of loud but that never bothers me.
The food on the other hand, whoa. I can't remember the last time I've been to a restaurant where the kitchen tried so little. My wife and I, like most anyone who inqires about it, heard it was good. Where were these people eating? Were they drugged at the door? We started with the Crispy pan fried calamari (8.95) and the Escargot (10.95) for my wife. My squid was barely golden, soggy and tasting of uncooked flour, no cornmeal flavor or crunch at all. Ever present banana pepper rings and a few leaves of grease laden (from the undercooked squid) spring mix rounded out the non-presentation,
The escargot, on the other hand were in a pool of congealed butter sauce,and served barely warm. Snails are notoriously hard to heat through, they need to be baked. These were obviously sauteed, which doesn't work, especially since they were quite big.
In between we got the complimentary salad, which they should just stop doing. Pre-made and refrigerated plates of iceberg with a few thin strips of red onion and one grape tomato, with a fat line of your dressing of choice poured over the top (by the server, I would imagine). Just skip it, it's embarrasing.
for entrees we both got little necksw/fettuccine, hers in blanco (wine/garlic ) mine with plum tomato sauce and italian sausage (19.95) (a special). Now, I must warn you, I have cooked on the line in reasturants, and one of my peeves is when a cook under cooks things in fear of over cooking them. This usually happens with steaks, since they can always be cooked more at the customers request, but go in the bin if over cooked. I also understand fully the term "al Dete". As soon as my plate came out, I peeled back some of the (very large) little necks to see the pasta and instantly realized it was undercooked by the translucency. One bite confirmed my suspicion. What a let down at a "fine Italian" restaurant. If there is one thing to get right, its cooking pasta. My wifes was just a bit better, but still not right.
My sausage was a joke. Some restaurants actually put specials on the menus to showcase fine ingredients at their peak of freshness, or the talents of the chef by hand making items. this was a dry, abomination of leftover, over cooked and again, barely heated though...protein, i guess best describes it. The clams were over cooked and rubbery as can be. I could cook better than this before I started cooking professionally. I will admit that this is the first time i was there, but, if in 4 dishes and 100 dollars later (including a generous tip for our hard working and knowledgeable server) I canot find a single thing about the food worth even remotely liking, I will never go back. Even the "artisinal bread" was stale and doughy, though the olive oil for dipping was of ok quality, at least.
Sorry, but restaurants taking peoples money need to provide value, not just fill stomachs. This is hard work, but thats why people go out to dinner, so someone will work hard FOR them.

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