ML and I had scheduled what was to be our sole winterlicious dinner at Romagna Mia for tonight- I had heard good reviews on the board, and the menu piqued my interest (not the typical salad or soup, followed by chicken or salmon). But due to someone else being unable to make it, we ended up joining my parents for a dinner at Annona last night.
Now, I've already been to Annona three times before for summer or winterlicious and I have yet to be disappointed. This probably shouldn't be worth noting but given that I've had more negative than positive experiences thus far at the licious', perhaps it is. Last night proved no exception. Good quality bread and flat breads to start along with an amuse bouche consisting of a delicious salmon on lemon scented lentils. For the second course I enjoyed a standard but well-prepared lobster bisque. The main was a fantastic black cod, perfectly grilled, accompanied by a tasty samosa. And for dessert we had a choice of 2 of 4 mini-desserts. All were terrific. All the while, service is consistently very good. Water is refilled without prompting, attention is given when needed and you are made to feel as though you are a treasured guest. When we received the bill, large chocolate treats were provided with the bill.
Every showdown has a loser, or at least there should be one, and on this occassion Romagna Mia comes up on the losing end. I was looking forward to what I had anticipated would be a high end Italian experience. Despite what was perfectly reasonable food, I'm hard pressed to recommend this place given the prices, and the general lack of care. Dishes are remarkably simple, which in and of itself is not a bad thing, but there was something about the experience that made me feel like I was in a cafeteria. Dishes were brought out rushed, without knowing who at our table ordered what. In this case, simplicity in plating detracted from the food rather than showcasing the ingredients, and serviceware was always the same, sometimes not framing the dish as well as it could. The food itself was fairly good but there are a number of Italian places putting out superior food at prices that are equivalent or less, in my opinion. Finally, one of the exciting aspects of Romagna Mia was only spotted after we had finished our mains - the risotto is prepared in a giant cheese barrel outside the kitchen.