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Restaurants & Bars

Just not wowed by Il Cantuccio, and a note on lighting

abby | Oct 27, 200502:28 PM

Went to Il Cantuccio recently and was really hoping to find that gem of a sleeper but came away with more of a so so impression.

The polenta appetizer with gorgonzola cheese and mushrooms was pretty good, although I think they sliced the polenta too thin, which prevented them from achieving a crusty exterior and a creamy interior. Needed salt but that is easily remidied-so I think maybe a different cheese was substitued for the gorgonzola b/c it was pretty mild.

Moved onto ok but far from great grilled vegetables (eggplant, fennel, zucchini, dressed in simple olive oil, not too much or too little but not the highest quality), carpaccio with arugula, parmesean and capers with a nice vineagrette (winner of the night-great quality, excellent seasoning and accompaniments) and finally, the recommended seafood pasta, spaghetti allo scoglio (spaghetti with a light tomato sauce, mussels, clams, calamari and prawns). Again, I was reaching for the salt shaker. I will say that the mussels were absolutely gorgeous and the prawns were way overcooked. tasted like everything got dumped in at the same time. the pasta was nicely cooked however.

Along with tap water an a bottle of Vietti 03 Barbera d'Alba, the tab was around $95. Just felt very "eh" about the experience. Did I order wrong? The waitress surprisingly did not recommend the pumpkin ravioli in butter and sage, which is what I thought was a house speciality. I don't love butter sauce, so if she wasn't pushing it, I decided to pass...maybe a mistake!

THe restaurant itself is very cute although I think they could improve the ambiance by a huge margin at no cost (actually, a savings!) by simply dimming the lights. I think a lot of restaurants make this mistake. I am not a fan of not being able to see your food and creating a false "romantic" ambiance but hey, I don't need the spotligh and why have candles on the table if the lights are on, full blast!

If I missed the high points of this restaurant, let me know and I'll try it again. It is one of those situations where I really *wanted* to like the restaurant, but just didn't get it.

Link: http://www.cantucciosf.com/

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