even though i've been in berkeley for a while, i have never made it over to this extremely popular restaurant. after the post last week and another friend's suggestion, i decide to brave the wait.
first thing- i had no idea a table for two would take over two hours on a saturday. i know, it's graduation time in b-town, and large parties are bogarting all the tables, but i just didn't think it would be that bad. it was.
chilled from sitting for two hours outside, s.o. and i are more than ready to eat. on the table is a shallow bowl of olive oil with garlic, rosemary, chili flakes, and parsley. along with standard sourdough, this was a nice start. then came the second batch of bread, which was a focaccia-like flat bread. this was not so good- definitely underbaked, wet (not moist), dense and chewy.
on to antipasti- we ordered misto, and everything was above par. especially good was the calamari salad. s.o. ate all the artichoke hearts, i retaliated and ate all the red pepper. things are looking up.
then comes pasta. s.o. ordered the pesto with shrimp because it was on two other tables, and i ordered rigatoni with sicilian meatballs because it was recommended by the waiter. my pasta was nice and resilient, and the sauce weighed on the acidic side, which i like. the meatballs were awful. they were grossly over-salted, and they had a strange, paste-like texture, most likely the result of too much binders. the pesto was made with roasted garlic, which is fine, but the mildness turned to blandness after the first few bites. plenty of shrimp, but these too lacked any discernible flavor.
we split a cannoli for dessert, and it's good, but a five dollar cannoli better be good.
all in all, mixed food for reasonable prices ($50 for the two of us) but for an atrocious wait. did we order the wrong dishes? why do people wait so long for this place (there were still people waiting to get seated by the time the restaurant closed at 10pm)?