This past weekend (1/5 & 1/6/13) was my birthday getaway to Atlantic City (our first visit there), and on Saturday evening – because we were staying in Egg Harbor, and I had checked out TripAdvisor reviews of restaurants there - I decided to try A Touch of Italy for dinner. I’m so glad I did. They still had their Christmas decorations up, and my husband and I were seated at a table right by the tall, beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the center of the room. Our waitress came over and introduced herself, took our drink orders, and returned with them promptly. I asked her what the soup of the day was, and she told me. We told her we’d need a few more minutes with the menu. She gave us that and then some – while we discovered that many of the entrees came with “Your Choice of Pasta, Vegetable, or Potato of the Day” - and we needed to know what they were. When we finally saw her again we flagged her down, and found out. I think my husband was ready to order at that point, but I wasn’t quite yet – and unfortunately, it ended up being a good while before we saw her again. After our orders were finally placed, I commented to my husband that maybe NOW we’ll see some bread.
We did, and it was some of the best Italian bread we’ve ever eaten. It was accompanied by your choice of seasoned olive oil and real butter, as well as two small bowls of freshly grated [presumably] Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes. Our house salads were very good (especially the creamy Italian dressing), and our steaks (which were not brought to us by our waitress) were cooked to our liking. We always order medium when what we really like is medium rare because cooks tend to err on the side of undercooking, figuring they can always cook it more – but of course they can’t cook it LESS if we decide it’s overcooked. My filet mignon practically melted in my mouth it was so tender ... so our meal was a hit.
And even though our waitress was MIA for most of it (we had to flag her down to refill my husband’s iced tea, and she never asked if I wanted another glass of wine), which could have ruined the experience for us, this restaurant not only had waiters and well-dressed busboys (just like the all-in-black waiters, only without neckties) constantly present and moving around all over the place, but also the most hand-on manager we have ever seen – greeting new patrons (and old regulars), directing where people should be seated (I loved where he placed us), going around trying to make sure everything was right for everyone, asking those seated how everything was - even helping set tables himself; he was almost never out of our sight. There was one particular busboy (in whose work area we were seated) who helped us out several times – by answering questions we had, by packing up our leftovers for us, and by fetching our nowhere-to-be-seen waitress for us so we could get our check. So even though our particular waitress was really not earning her tip, we never felt too frustrated or abandoned because of the way this restaurant is run. We ended up tipping our busboy personally in cash (much to his surprise) - and leaving less than 15% for our likable but unfortunately wholly inefficient waitress. And before we left, we made a point of complimenting the manager (whose name turned out to be Scott) on the food, the service, his management, and the overall experience – which we truly did enjoy. We deliberately did not mention our waitress to him – having little doubt he’d probably hear about it from our busboy, who really should be promoted to waiter. Finally, I think the best complement I can give this restaurant is that despite our assigned waitress, we would we absolutely eat there again.
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