On Sunday my wife and I went to Paradiso. I wish I could say it was a better experience.
I was in a pasta mood and heard some good things about this restaurant so we tried it. Great open space with the yellow walls and white ceilings, sleek and uncluttered with an open kitchen. My wife said it reminded her of a well-known San Francisco restaurant called Moose in the North Beach neighborhood.
We ordered a bottle of Presceo ($35) pretty expensive if you ask me but were in the mood so we ordered it. We received two slices of Italian bread, one with hot roasted peppers and one with a white bean paste. Very good.
Our server, I dont know if she just started there or what but she seemed very nervous. Her hands were practically shaking as she poured the wine. She spilled water on the floor as she was pouring glasses for us.
For starters my wife had a good hearty bowl of minestrone soup. Nothing out of the ordinary, just good comfort food. I had the Baby Organic Spinach with Chanterelle Mushroom, Roasted Pear, Pancetta and Cider Vinaigrette. It was the highpoint of my meal.
For dinner I had the Potato Gnocchi with Fresh Tomato and Basil. Some of the lightest gnocchi I've ever had. However, the airiness of the gnocchi was totally lost in the sauce which was way too salty.
My wife had the Pappardelli with Wild Mushroom Ragout. It was much-better seasoned and was rather good. However, the damn homemade macaroni stuck together into one big lump.
For desert we shared Buttermilk Panna Cotta with a Mixed Berry Compote and we each had an espresso. It was litter denser than what I'm used to and a the buttermilk gave it a that extra sour-like taste. The mixed berry was raspberry. Our coffee appeared far ahead of our dessert.
The service was okay throughout, with the exception of our hesitant server. Everyone on the floor all helped each other.
Even though our entries were poorly executed, our server was inexperienced, and a couple of other minor problems I was more than ready to give this place another chance. It seems to have potential. I did want to try Rabbit Cacciatore with Creamy Mascarpone Polenta. That was until I received the bill: $98 including tax.
It's not the most expensive restaurant, but for that money I want a little more refinement and a little better execution of food. We tipped our server well. Even though she was hesitant she did try to do well. But I'm not returning when there are so many other quality Italian restaurants in this city. I can't afford to experiment with this place until they get it right.