We were a boisterous party of 6 and were nicely greeted by the host (owner?), an older gentleman who flirted with the ladies and explained the specials. We ordered drinks, wine, appetizers and everyone fell in love with the sound of the special pasta of the evening... a homemade linguine with mushrooms and garlic. We knew when we made the right choice when our host said we'd ordered the best dish. So... service was good, wine flowed, the atmosphere was convivial... pleasant decor and tableware... nothing special, but nice.
When the appetizers arrived, we were disappointed to discover that the caprese was just ordinary mozzarella and pale, cold, tasteless tomatoes (California tomatoes at the end of the summer should be vibrantly flavored and bright red, right?) A seafood and anchovy appetizer was better. When the salads came, they were the typical small-town Italian restaurant fare of ordinary pale lettuce, bland vinaigrette, and those sad bland tomatoes again. Sad.
But.... THE SPECIAL! Five of us were ecstatic with huge plates of lovely tender pasta and a wonderfully flavorful mushroom topping. We added grated cheese and many of us slurped down the whole plate (it was a lot of pasta!). An amazing treat after typical appetizers. (One of us had lasagna and she said it was ok... nothing to write home about.)
More wine after dinner... and we received complimentary after-dinner cordials. Service remained consistently good and we had a great time. I would eat there again, but would focus more on the daily specials... and skip the refrigerator-tomatoes!
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