I began responding to an old post that asked about two restaurants in Sheboygan, WI. Then I thought I'd start a new thread, instead. I realize there's not a whole lot of activity from the Sheboygan community, but FWIW, I'll post this anyway.
The two restaurants asked about were Trattoria Stefano and Lino. Both are well-regarded, upscale Italian restaurants. But for me, there's no choice to be made. Stefano will get my business every time and here's why:
Trattoria Stefano beats Lino in every way imaginable. Stefano's food is top notch - creative, beautifully presented, prepared with the freshest ingredients, and delicious. The servers at Stefano are wonderful, and if you need a wine pairing they are extremely knowledgeable about the great selection of wines on the list, the wine growers and the reasons for their recommendations. We've had David and August as servers very recently and they were both so very helpful.
Now a word about Lino - I know it gets top ratings on Trip Advisor. And some of their food is good. But here's something I haven't seen mentioned in any reviews, and for me it's a deal-breaker: the second you open the door and walk in to Lino, you're hit with the smell of crappy cologne or perfume. I mean, it clobbers you. And quite honestly, I believe it's Lino, himself, who is the offender.
There is no place for cologne or perfume in any restaurant, let alone one that's billed as "fine dining." Lino makes the rounds of tables to chat with customers and it was quite obvious to me that he was heavily doused in cologne. Maybe it's to mask the odor of cigarette smoke - he was outside the front door, smoking, when we walked in the other night.
All that said, I will not go back to Lino on future trips to Sheboygan (I get there a few times a year). I've been there enough times to know that the overpowering smell of cologne, especially in the reception and bar area in the front of the restaurant, wasn't a one-time unusual thing.
Thumbs-up for Trattoria Stefano. Thumbs down for Lino.