We were really excited to finally try this much-hyped new Italian restaurant as it is near our home and looked like nothing that Ames currently has for restaurant options. The first problems came very early on when we had a reservation for 7pm that was lost. The woman who took our reservation for that time said it was no problem for 2 people at that time. When we arrived at 6:45 we found that we were not even on the list at all. Rather than being apologetic the hostess seemed more flustered and then said she would see what she could do but that they were really busy and it might be awhile. While we waited, we sat at the bar and ordered cocktails. It look awhile to get their attention and the staff seemed inexperienced. We asked one of the male bartenders if he could make martinis. He said yes and I ordered a very dirty ketel one martini. He brought me one and said "It's really dirty" and I could see that it was completely clear and not cloudy like a dirty martini should be and also not very cold. Upon tasting it I could tell that his definition of dirty was simply putting a lot of vermouth into vodka with a few olives. Dirty martinis should contain olive juice and just a splash of vermouth and be served very cold. The bartenders definitely need more experience. The bartender then asked if we wanted to order food. I said they had misplaced our reservation and I was hoping to get a table still. He said he would talk to the hostess but he didn't understand why they would have even taken our reservation that morning because they have been booked up for weeks and there was no way they had the room. After talking to the hostess, they determined that it would be a long time before we could get a table because there was a large group that was just seated so we could eat at the bar or wait for a table in the deli/cantina area. One did happen to open up in the cantina so we cashed out at the bar and sat down at the table near the deli case. The lighting in the case made for a less than pleasant atmosphere and the chairs were cold metal that made us feel like we were in a clinical setting. We then asked our server, a young shorter man, if he could tell us anything about the wine we were looking at, he said no, but that would ask someone. He then asked the Italian woman who was working the floor but she shook her head at him and he moved to another woman on the other side of the restaurant who was able to tell him it was a dryer crisp white wine which was just what we wanted. The wine ended up being good but we paid $30 for it and after googling it online later, we found that it was a cheap $8 bottle of wine. Next time I'll read up more on my Italian wines.
Our server then entire time seemed stressed and unfriendly and indifferent, even thought I felt like we were more than patient and friendly to him even after all of the problems.We ordered the caprese salad and were underwhelmed. I do not consider 6 sun-dried tomatoes and a few slices of mozzarella with a drizzle of pesto to be a real caprese salad. That being said, we felt like the highlight of the meal was the brussel sprout appetizer which had really good flavor. We ordered the carbonara pasta and the fettucine with added steak. I would say both of these dishes were very simple and didn't have much flavor. The carbonara was definitely better but there wasn't anything that set them apart from a basic italian dish elsewhere. Overall I just felt disappointed about my experience at this restaurant. I hope they are able to work out the problems and become the restaurant they were hyped up to be. The concept is good and the place is beautiful, but without the right staff and dishes, this place could become just another of the basic restaurant options that Ames has.