I had reservations for Friday night to sample the much-raved about RW menu at Umbria. When my partner in crime couldn't make it, we rescheduled for Saturday instead.
From the moment I made the reservations - and rescheduled - I was impressed. Some restaurants overlook this aspect of customer service, and Umbria doesn't. Hostesses were charming and acommodating, quite top-notch. Our server was great, too - attentive and thoughtful, helpful with my wine selection. Unfortunately the rest of the experience was utterly disappointing. I was so looking forward to this meal and found the food to be completely sub-par.
Grilled and Stuffed Calamari
spicy house pork sausage filling, rabe blossom garlic & oil
--The best part of this dish was the rabe. The squid wasn't grilled, but seemed rather poached or sauteed, leaving it a bit too chewy, and the stuffing wasn't really stuffing, but just sausage and rather bland. 4 squid served over a tasty mound of the rabe.
parmigiano & ricotta, basil tomato filets, parsley bread crumbs, olives
--Served as a tower, rather plain eggplant slices (barely roasted?) wrapped around the cheese filling. One big basil leaf on top. This just wasn't a very interesting or flavorful dish. The eggplant dish at Via Matta far surpasses this dish. For a mound of cheese, Polcari's would have been a better destination (and half the price).
Organic Micro Greens Salad
arugula, radicchio trevisano, bibb lettuce & peaches, sangria dressing $9
--The greens were lovely and the dish was pretty from the variety, but the salad was completely underdressed.
wide linguine, house cured pancetta, sweet onions, collina tomato ragú $18
--The tomato sauce was bright, but the pancetta was not at all good. Undercured maybe? Lacking flavor, the big chunks of pancetta just didn't offer any flavor to the dish. Again, just bland food...and for $18?
Wild King Alaskan Salmon
wood fired, served with fresh seasonal legumes & prosciutto ragú
--I didn't try this, but it was a nice looking piece of fish, the skin crisped nicely and served with some lovely tasting beans (not sure what exactly)
It is such a bummer to be looking forward to great food at a restaurant you're trying for the first time and to have it be so disappointing. I just *hate* thinking "I could do better than this at home!" I felt bad for dragging my date there, refusing his offers to pick up the check.
Why return to Umbria when I've had many good meals at La Morra and Via Matta, and with places like Trattoria Toscana to try (for a much smaller investment).