January 20, 2020
Carmelo Restaurant: A Mediocre and Inhospitable dining experience.
Anticipation or excitement for this evening quickly faded when our hostess greeted us in a rude and unfriendly manner. She informed us that yes we had a reservation, but she tried to place us in the outside garden room when the temperature hovered at a cool fifty eight degrees. When I objected, she coldly replied that “perhaps she could find us a space indoors.”
I have used ‘Open table’ for many years, and have always relied on its professional and efficient service, never have I been treated in such a manner. My table was booked on January 8, for the evening of January 20. Why would the hostess not honor my reservation as listed below instead try to dictate where we would sit?
Our table service was perfunctory at best. Our young waitress was attentive but not forthright with her answers. My companion and I ordered the Antipasto Misti: an assortment of slices of mozzarella and provolone cheese, a few olives, slivers of roasted red pepper, some artichoke hearts, and slices of soppresata and mortadella, atop arugula greens; This was acceptable, however lacking in any presentation. My companion and I ordered the salads; her’s a Caesar salad, mine a garden salad. We both did not care for the croutons, store-bought and dry to the bite; the dressing clearly poured from a bottle. My dressing described as ‘a raspberry vinagrette arrived bright red, very sweet and syrupy. My companion ordered ‘fettucini alla marissa’ consisting of eggplant, pine nuts, roasted cherry tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms tossed with a pesto garlic sauce. What arrived instead was a dark concoction of noodles that were not ‘al dente’; large slices of eggplant, the spinach almost invisible, and the Pesto lacking in flavor, and not at all bright and basil-like as fresh basil should taste. All in all, the dish was under-seasoned. I ordered what was supposedly a ‘pork osso buco’.
“Ossobuco or osso buco is a specialty of Lombard cuisine of cross-cut veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth. “
Usually the bone in veal is thick enough to encase delicious marrow which makes the dish rich and unique tasting. However my Pork shank was too small to contain any marrow, and though braised to tenderness, did not impress. What was even more distressing, was the addition to the sauce what appeared to be ‘store-bought’ dry gnocchi; these were over-cooked, and tasteless. When we asked our waitress if their desserts were made on premise, she hesitated and said yes. We opted for the tiramisu. A properly made tiramisu would showcase delicate lady-fingers dipped in coffee, encasing a rich marsala tasting cream usually made with mascarpone, and accented with slivers of dark chocolate, and would be light and airy in texture. What appeared instead was a sponge cake with layers of frositng?and topped with melted chocolate.
All in all, I find Carmelo’s food in-authentic, and not prepared in the true spirit of Italian cuisine. Amazingly, this place attracts many diners, and is well suited for the many ‘snow-birds’ that flock here at this time of the year. ~tiaotse~
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