This was a time when I checked out the menu before going in and was a little excited by the fact that even though it is Italian (and I think I have mentioned how I have yet to find an Italian place I love in this town), it had a wider menu than the standard alfredo and red sauce and pasta all smothered with cheese that you see a lot around here. It also sits right on the marina at Geist and has a nice view of the lake. We really enjoyed the setting and were hoping for the best.
We decided to start with the beef carpaccio and the truffle fries. The carpaccio was described as thin beef with parmesan cheese, capers and olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I am not sure why they decided that they needed to take the carpaccio and turn it into crostinis, but it was not carpaccio. It was toasted bread with melted cheese topped with thinly sliced raw beef, roasted red peppers, large slices of parmesan and a couple of capers and a fairly heavy dash of balsamic syrup. When we ordered this, we wanted something light. This was certainly not light. And the biggest pet peeve about the whole plate was the roasted red peppers, which brings me to my next point. When you are making your menu, if there is some ingredient that will dramatically change the flavor of the dish, such as roasted red peppers, please list them in the ingredients. Especially when you take great care to list every other ingredient. Because for me, a roasted red pepper is a dominating flavor, and also happens to be one that neither I nor hubby particularly like. So basically it was pepper flavored beef on bread (hubby says more like pepper flavored bread since the delicacy of the meat flavor was totally lost). And the balsamic was a little heavy too, so the delicacy of the flavor of the meat (which was pretty thin, although not as thin as I would have liked) was completely lost between the peppers and the balsamic.
The other appetizer we ordered, the truffle fries, were even worse. So they were called “fries” but they were obviously not fried, and now looking back at the menu, they are actually baked, and there was nothing remotely crispy about them. They were also slightly undercooked, so there was the added benefit of not only not being crispy, but being too firm as well. There was some cheese melted on top, and apparently some truffle oil drizzled there too, although I didn’t taste it. Although, I didn’t really taste much of this dish because they were not good. Don’t call something “fries” unless they are. And ewww, don't serve ketchup with truffle fries.
Luckily for hubby, he ordered a pasta dish that turned out to be pretty good. It was “Papardelle Oceano.” These were large wide noodles with crab and shrimp in a basil cream sauce. I had some of it and it was enjoyable and worth ordering. The bites of crab were fresh and not at all stringy the way crab mixed in dishes like this often is. Hubby was quite pleased and felt that the restaurant had redeemed itself somewhat, although h is entrée was supposed to come with a salad which never came.
I had a spinach salad with blue cheese, boiled egg, pancetta and pinenuts (and unmentioned shredded carrots, not my fave). It was tossed lightly with a creamy parmesan dressing. I was let down with the salad as well. There was an enormous amount of spinach and what appeared to be no toppings. But as I dug down (which took some effort with all that spinach), there was actually quite a bit of blue cheese buried at the bottom (not as much of the pancetta and pinenuts). Because the salad was seriously underdressed for the amount of spinach, I asked for some extra on the side. Once I sort of dug out the goodies and added the extra dressing, it wasn’t bad. But I only ate probably a quarter of it.
The last annoying thing about this place is that the service was pretty slow. I think they may have been a bit understaffed for the crowd, as I only saw about three servers outside and it was filling up, including many large parties. For instance, the bread they brought to every table (except ours) turned out to be very good, but we had to ask for it and didn’t get it until the end of the meal. Like I said, hubby said his pasta was one of the better pasta dishes he has had in the City, and because of the view alone, we may go back one day. But for me, it won’t be based on the food or the service.
11699 Fall Creek Blvd