A great start turns into a shocking disaster.
What an incredibly disappointing experience.
The ambience was stunning, and while we noticed the service was terribly slow, the initial dishes served al fresco were superb: calamari was bright and flavorful; a salad with orange vinaigrette was refreshing; the children's four-cheese ravioli were fresh, pillowy, and delightful.
The mood shifted quickly, however, when our main courses arrived. The saltimbocca was bland, reminiscent of church basement hotdish. But the real losers were two plates of linguine with white clam sauce: My husband's plate consisted of cold noodles, with several stems clumped in a mass, swimming in what looked and tasted like sea water.
Both my husband and mother in-law asked the waitress to return the plates. Instead of offering an apology or a remedy to the situation, she subjected us a barrage of unbelieveable remarks and excuses: "it's a salty dish." "You asked for parmesan, and that made it saltier." "You must not be familiar with how this dish is prepared, or is supposed to taste." The maitre'd then joined in, shocking us all when he asked my mother in-law if she was on any medication that might affect her palate. We also received no discount on our bill; instead, two new plates of linguine were put in to-go boxes for us. We threw them out the second we left the piazza.
As a family who regularly prepares and eats Italian cuisine - including linguine alle vongole - we were appalled that such a terrible interpretation would even pass the chef's inspection. But this restaurant crossed the line by pairing it with condescending, crass, discriminatory service. We will never return or recommend.
Fabulous Italian food on the plaza.
On a recent Saturday we dined at Costantino's on the plaza, and it was fabulous. From Manager Michael's attention to every detail, to the knowledgeable and attentive wait staff, to the superb menu selections, and thanks to glorious weather and a beautiful sunset, our experience was just superb. For appetizers we shared crab-stuffed artichokes and fried calamari (so tender they melted in your mouth), then dined on veal piccata (wonderfully light ), Chilean Sea Bass, roasted chicken and the fillet with jumbo shrimp. A well-rounded wine list complimented the meal - and we polished it off with cannolis and their special coffees. Hubby and I dine there frequently - but first time for our guests, who raved about this experience.