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Restaurants & Bars 3

St. Louis: Bar Italia visit

p.j. | May 19, 200511:14 AM

Hello! I wanted to report back on our Tues. anniversary dinner, which, because of our big lunch at Wei Hong, turned into appetizers and a drink at Bar Italia.
We decided we still wanted to go out, but not very far. We went first to Chez Leon, which turned out to have nothing but shellfish and pork/meat-laden appetizers. So we left the car and took a nice stroll up Euclid to Bar Italia, where we hadn't been in many years. The atmosphere on the patio was fun, good people/fashionista watching, but the service, which started well, became as disappointing as the food.

I should have read the reviews on Sauce! They are right on. Overpriced, and underwhelming. My husband's Campari, which he ordered on the rocks, but without soda or water, came out watery. Maybe it had sat on the bar for awhile. Our "fennel salad" with mushrooms and reggiano-parmesan turned out to be mostly somewhat tired romaine and buttercrunch(?) lettuce (definitely not "farm fresh local"), some tasteless shavings of what was supposedly fennel, watery white mushroom chunks, and o.k. cheese chunks. When we got the bill, we were charged for an "entree" version: $9! My $8 glass of a 2000 Valpollicella was skimpy, and not too exciting (our waiter, one of the original owners, I believe, had recommended it). The bruschetta was 2 pieces of fancy grilled cheese with veggies; The "roasted red peppers" was 1 delicious pepper, 3 anchovies, and two small triangles of a very mild "ricotta salata". The waiter/owner pretty much ignored us after bringing the food, and had no response when I told him, when he brought the check, that the fennel was tasteless. I don't think he even asked about coffee and dessert.

Our best decision was to walk over to Ben & Jerry's and have some ice cream for dessert.

My rec: if you crave Bar Italia's desserts, go to La Dolce Via, where the atmosphere is friendlier and the food is much better.


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