Isabella's came highly recommended by a co worker of mine. I just moved to Frederick and am trying as many restaurants as I can.
I dined on a Wednesday night and walked in at about 9:15. There was only a handful of patrons remaining. I sat at the bar as I always do when dining alone and was the only person at the bar. I asked the bartender for the beer menu. As an avid beer drinker, I was hoping for something better. While I appreciate drinking locally, your choice is Brewer's Alley and Brewer's Alley... I had recently tried a fill flight at Brewer's Alley and was less than impressed. I moved on to the martini list and signature cocktails. I asked the bartender about one of them and she was unsure what the main ingredient was. She allowed me to sample the martini which was appreciated. I ordered that drink and was very pleased.
I then asked for a good menu and what the signature dishes were. The bartender recommended the fried asparagus. The presentation was nicely displayed in a champagne glass with the dipping sauce in the bottom of the glass. The asparagus was cooked perfectly and the sauce was quite flavorful. My only critique was that the asparagus was cut too long and write tough at the ends. I could not chew through them and consequently pulled the asparagus out of the breading.
The bartender also recommended the special of paella which was served with crab and shrimp. She warned me that it would be up to 25 minutes wait. The paella actually arrived before I could finish my appetizer. I could tell that the rice was extremely overcooked before taking a bite. The shrimp were tiny and not cleaned with their fecal matter still visible. There was a nice portion of crab meat displayed on top of the dish. The peas were cooked properly as the were brought green and still with a bit of pop. There were brought colors and visually pleasing. However the dish as a whole lacked flavor and depth. The only flavor top the dish was the heat from the sausage.
I ordered a second drink with my dinner, a Hendricks dirty martini. It was not dirty and the olives used were smaller than a dimes diameter. They were pathetic.
There is promise for this restaurant; but you're only as good as your worst meal. And this one didn't invite me back.