Restaurants & Bars 1

Smuggler's Inn - Fresno surprise

PolarBear | Apr 27, 2005 09:51 PM

Had our staff lunch meeting here today at the SW corner of Blackstone and Dakota.

Billed as an all you can eat Pasta Buffet for $5.95, it's really much more. There is the ever popular bar area downstairs with a couple of dining rooms separated from it, white table cloths, nice setting. We ate upstairs in the loft, nice secluded spot with views over the bar area and one of the dining areas on the other side. Carpeted steps lead right down to the buffet.

Three salads, nice mixed greens, a pasta style, and can't recall the other. Bowl of fruit (cantelope and strawberries), rolls (didn't try them, but pronounced good by one in our group) and a housemade cream of celery soup, nice creamy texture and good flavor.

There were two pastas in the steam table, a generic red sauce with a spiral shape (fusili?) that was OK, better than Spaghetti Factory or Olive Garden at least, but the second was outstanding, a fettucine al fredo style they called Chicken Pozole, nice spicy flavor with artichokes, mushrooms, summer squash and thinly sliced red bell pepper.

The other outstanding part was a separate station with a young Hispanic fellow cooking up plates of either fettucine or angel hair with whatever ingredients you choose. Olives, mushrooms, couple of types of squash, red and green sliced bells, diced tomato, shredded parmesan, another cheese IIRC, and a few others I can't recall. He prepared these over a two burner electric hot plate, cooking the vegies, deglazing with a little white wine, reducing with Manufacturing Cream (???) which I'd never heard of, tried to find out but my Spanish was far worse than his English, seems to be similar to heavy cream, maybe closer to half and half. Partially cooked noodles are added, plated, then another reduction of wine and cream as your meat of choice (prawns or chicken) is finished in the pan.

Waitstaff was very attentive and efficient. Can't believe the place wasn't swamped, probably just a matter of time until it's "discovered". I usually try to limit the quantity of my noontime meal, today I really needed a nap after returning to the office.

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