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“Lunch & dinner, consistently great service and food”
Review of Peppercorn's Grill

Peppercorn's Grill
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Ranked #48 of 446 Restaurants in Hartford
Price range: $25 - $35
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Capital Ave
Transit: Stop located across the street in front of restaurant
Description: Peppercorn’s Grill and Piccolo Arancio are owned and operated by the Cialfi siblings, Sal, Dino, Tina, and Rosa. Brothers Sal and Dino purchased Peppercorn's Grill in 1989 and they, along with younger sisters Tina and Rosa opened Piccolo Arancio in 1994. This generation of Cialfi's has added modern creativity and personality to traditional strengths of their Italian upbringing. Sal and Dino were trained in the art of Italian food at their uncle's restaurant in Rome. When their uncle felt that the two brothers education was complete, he helped them open their own restaurant in Rome, Piccolo Arancio and became internationally acclaimed within their first year. Now operated by their cousins, Piccolo Arancio remains near the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Both restaurants produce award-winning cuisine and continue to receive high honors and awards. This may Marked the 10th consecutive year the both Peppercorn's Grill and Piccolo Arancio received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence
Reviewed July 29, 2012

Stopped in for both a biz lunch and date dinner in the same month. Got A scallop dish both times and loved it. Had a veal saltimbocca during a prior visit and it was spectacular. The dining room is fine decor, the servers are professional. This is a cool place off main st. Hartford. I'll be back.

Thank bn_trav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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107 - 111 of 152 reviews

Reviewed July 26, 2012

The food here is always good. Dino is a great chef and the menu is varied and extensive. Very good wine list.

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Thank vinorosso54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2012

This place has potential but fails to deliver.

We went at 3pm on a Wednesday. There was only one other table there besides us, and one person at the bar, but I am fairly confident that person was one of the cooks and not a "customer" customer.

Anyway, we were seated promptly and then waited a few minutes for our server. She took our drink order (water) and left without mentioning any specials. When she returned, she noticed my http://restaurant.com certificate and pointed out those are only good for dinner. (I knew I would end up missing some detail on that thing!) I asked her for dinner menus, and when she brought them back, she pointed out that we would still save money by ordering off the lunch menu, and since we were there at a time we could, we might consider that. She ended up being correct about that, and I was thankful for the tip.

We ordered the beef carpaccio appetizer and continued to look at the menus to decide on our entrees. The menu was very creative (although some of it quite misspelled). We waited and waited for our server to come take our order. She wasn't at the one other table. We weren't sure where she was. She had vanished.

Eventually, she reappeared with our appetizer, so we had to order our entrees with our appetizer teasing us from below our noses. Perhaps this was a ploy to keep our orders quick. My husband ordered the ravioli, and I ordered a gluten-free version of the rigatoni.

The carpaccio was fantastic! It was a great way to start the meal. It was the perfect size, quality, presentation, flavor, etc. We thought, if this is what the food is like, then perhaps we can deal with the slow, unfriendly service. (By unfriendly, I do not mean to imply the server was unkind. After all, she did save me some money. She just wasn't friendly. Nor was she personable. I don't want to use negatives like "rude" or "snooty," because I don't think they quite fit. But, other than the tip on the certificate, she really wasn't helpful at all.)

After our appetizer, we stared at the empty plate for a long time. It went well with our empty water glasses. The menu had warned that the food takes a long time, because they want to make it right, but it did not warn us that our server would completely vanish from the floor unless she was putting food on our table. We talked about our entire day, played some games on the phone, used the restroom, and twiddled our thumbs. Finally, the food came, and she took away our empty appetizer plate.

She said nothing when she gave us our food. My husband's ravioli came with a very delicious orange and mint sauce. There were three raviolis (the dinner portion for $9 more would have meant one more ravioli). The presentation was lovely.

I was pretty excited to see rotini noodles instead of the typical penne everyone else offers for gluten-free. My sauce was super outstandingly deliciously yummy! The porcini mushrooms went in it perfectly, and the house made sausage was pretty great. This dish had huge potential. It was even burn-my-mouth hot, which I love. However, my noodles were crunchy in the middle. Because the server had vanished, my options were to eat crunchy noodles in hot, yummy sauce, or wait an eternity to tell her my pasta was far from al dente and then wait another eternity for the problem to be fixed. I ate my crunchy noodles.

It was such a shame, because the sauce was so amazing, I can imagine that if the noodles had been al dente, or even overcooked, the dish would have been one of my faves.

The waitress never came to check to see if our meals were okay. In fact, we never saw her anywhere on the floor again until several (SEVERAL) minutes AFTER we were completely finished eating. (Well, I considered myself "done" after picking all of the good stuff out of my pasta. Had my noodles been cooked, I would have kept eating.) When she came for our plates, I told her that she might want to let the cook know to go longer on the pasta next time. She then told me that the cook had told her that he had been "cooking that pasta forever, but it still doesn't seem done." Really? If he told her that, why on earth would she not come to check with me to make sure my food was okay?

Good servers check back within a bite or two to make sure everything is okay. Okay servers show up a little late. Bad servers show up half way through the meal. This one showed up fifteen or more minutes after the meal was over.

This restaurant had two tables with people at it. Where in the world was our server as I sat there eating crunchy pasta? What a waste of a great sauce and an afternoon. What a shame.

This place seems to have potential, but it isn't living up to it. The pasta did not live up to the sauce. The server did not live up to any definition of the word other than saving me from a http://restaurant.com faux pas, and despite the lack of customers, the place was loud, causing the ambience to not live up to the decor.

1  Thank KarinMathbratD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 16, 2012

peppercorns never disappoints.
it can be noisy and bustling, especially on theater nights but it can also be quiet and romantic. chef Dino often thinks up dishes that are based on his memories of his mama's and grandmama's cooking so when the waitstaff describes any specials, i will often choose one just to see what he has concocted.

their signature pasta is ravioli stuffed with orange. bravo!

my husband and his picky wine friends often choose peppercorns because there is something for everyone and nobody is ever unhappy. other friends eat here frequently for lunch and return again and again. (not just out of habit, though. they are way too picky for that!) if you are visiting from out of town, you will find that this italian restaurant is out of the ordinary and i think it is a superb Hartford dining choice.

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Thank bravo-cinzia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 24, 2012

Thank you! Please tell your husband we offer 1/2 Price Bottles of Wine Every Monday and we have a new $12 Daily Lunch Special...Piatto Unico~ Unique Plate ~ changes every day!!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 13, 2012

Three of us went to Peppercorns on a Saturday night, thinking it was the start of Taste of Hartford. Well, it started the next night, and although we didn't pay $20.12 for 3-course meals, we did prove you can eat well here without risking have CL+P shut off your lights. And it's darn good. We've eaten here before, but it's been a few years, so that was no surprise. Except for room-temperature bread, everything was very nice -- carpaccio app and one of mussels, the gnocchi entree, the short rib ravioli (Wow) and the 3rd got the veal meatball app as an entree. Melts in your mouth. Service is very polite and professional, if oddly VERY slow. Now, too slow is better than too fast, but this was wrong. And it's not like they were busy. Which leads me back to the title...when we walked in at 7:15 the main room of 20 tables was about half full. By 8:15 it was just us. Are times that tough? Is it the location?...isolated from anything else downtown. Overall, there are too many good places for Italian to put this on your to-do list.

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Thank nagled
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Management response:Responded June 24, 2012

Thank you for your review. We are sorry to hear you had to wait and will check into that. Yes we are off the beaten path, although we have been here for 22 years, times change and cities change but we are happy to still be here with FREE PARKING (in lot left of restaurant after 2pm), Valet Parking, easy street parking, Free Wi-fi and most important...Delicious Contemporary Italian Cuisine!!
'Peppercorn's is about as close to Italy as you're going to get on Main Street Hartford.' - the Hartford Courant.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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