I dined at Piacere in Cloverdale, CA June 24 and found the entire experience wretched. Virtually every dish came smothered in a heavy cream based sauce made distinctive by a few drops of flavoring. As an entree I had Sonoma Roast Duck, which appeared to be drowned in a heavy apricot flavored sauce. Poking through the sauce were a few chunks of unidentifiable solid matter, which tasted faintly like duck, although they could have easily been chicken or even pork.
The sauce overwhelmed everything on the plate. I ordered, with a friend, the scallop entree as an appetizer. It, too, arrived drenched in nearly identical heavy sauce minus the apricot flavoring. The scallops were breaded, fried and tossed into the sea of sauce and arrived on my plate as sodden, lumps tasting entirely of sauce. There was not even the faintest taste of scallop.
The sauces at Piacere brought back not so fond memories of one of my least favorite Army meals, creamed chipped beef on toast, known to millions of soldiers as “SOS.”
Cloverdale sits at the far northern end of Sonoma County, one of the world’s great Wine producing regions. So it was especially disappointing to find a miserable wine list. The wines were poorly chosen and priced. The one Zinfandel on the list was a Parducci at $31, or 3.3 times the retail price. Most Wine Country restaurants charge 2.5 times the wholesale price. Wines were served in tiny 4 oz. goblets that eliminated any possible bouquet from reaching my nose. Larger glasses would probably not have made a difference as the wine lacked body and taste, perhaps because of the unacceptable storage conditions. Wines at Piacere are stored in racks in the dining room, which seemed to be 80-82 degrees on the evening we visited.
My meal cost $39, with tip. I could have eaten better at the Olive Garden or other neo Tuscan/Italian chain for half the price.
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