Korean Cowboy: Fried Spaghetti Westerns and a Mad Hatter Menu

Cowboys have always been a focal point in pop culture.   Bon Jovi is a cowboy…on a steel horse he rides.   Paula Cole asked us where have all the cowboys gone? after she does all the laundry.  Jon Favreau reminded us why Olivia Wilde should stick to television and Daniel Craig to James Bond when he directed Cowboys and Aliens (which only received 44% on rotten tomatoes).  Whether you watch American Idol or read Louis L’Amour, the cowboy is one of the quintessential symbols of Americana.

Korea on the other hand, elicits another series of thoughts and feelings.  Political pundits will cite the lovable Ban Ki-Moon of South Korea or the infamous Kim Jong-un of  the North.  Youtube junkies have hummed and danced to  Psy’s Gangnam Style behind closed doors since 2012.  Foodies hear Korean and think about  bibimbap, bulgogi and hot pots.

So, when thinking of a Korean Cowboy, any number of images come to mind. One may think of Glenn Rhee swapping out his ball cap for a Stetson in the Walking Dead or the purposely annoying Ken Jeong following the gang to the Alamo in the Hangover 15.  Regardless, I suspect the vision of such a cowboy would be more in line with wackiness and fun as opposed to a cameo in a somber scene from the Unforgiven. When looking at the rather insane offerings at Korean Cowboy in advance, I was reminded of the phrase mad hatter which originated from the overt symptoms hatters use to exhibit due to mercury poisoning from the felt used inside of hats and wondered if this menu was a side effect. However, when the website explained  that Koreans are fun people who enjoy lots of booze, fun food and general goofiness,  I figured the menu was a reflection of the fact that this establishment promised  a forum for all three.

Located on Yonge just north of Eglinton, Korean Cowboy had an exciting buzz from the minute I entered. I was greeted by a bubbly waitress and seated at a table with a good view of televisions and saloon-like surroundings. The bar was reminiscent of a scene from an old spaghetti western and offered craft beer, soju and a decent rail of spirits.   The name of the restaurant is painted across mirrors situated behind the shelved booze.  Speaking of spaghetti, I was intrigued by the first of many anju dishes available on the menu; fried spaghetti.  Anju, as I learned from the website, is a generic term given to snacks which are usually served and  enjoyed in the presence of alcohol. This fried spaghetti was not the traditional throw leftovers it in a pan and heat up type.  It was fried in its dry state, creating an odd but intriguing nibble.  For a buck, you can’t go wrong.

Fried Spaghetti $1
Fried Spaghetti $1

It was a Wednesday which happened to be oyster night, meaning you could get a dozen for $12. Instead of the traditional hot sauce and horseradish, they were served with a carousel of unique toppings which included among others Korean tabasco, chili vinegar, sesame, coffee and soju.  Each put a fun and unique spin on eating a plate full of the molluscs. The coffee was probably the most unique and the chili vinegar was one of the best.

Oyster Condiments
Oyster Condiments
Wednesday Night Oysters  12/$12
Wednesday Night Oysters 12/$12

There are no apologies on the menu for the lack of fine food.  Instead, the menu items looked like the product of an episode of Chopped held in a dorm room.  Take the hot dog stir fry ($3.99)for example.  The simple combination of chopped wieners, vegetables and a ketchup sauce result in a dish you want to hate but can’t. It’s tangy and sweet and something you would crave on a street corner after a few pints and allow you to go to bed confident that you’d wake up fine the next morning.

Hot Dog Stir Fry $3.99
Hot Dog Stir Fry $3.99

The cheesy spicy rice cakes were a cross between laffy taffy and ball game nachos with that repulsive yet delicious spicy cheese sauce. The chewy rice cakes may not appeal to everybody, but as a guy who loves tapioca and any kind of pudding I found the texture oddly appealing especially when hidden among the nostalgic stadium flavours. This dish was a home run.

Cheesy Spicy Rice Cakes $5.99
Cheesy Spicy Rice Cakes $5.99

The steamed bun burger ($3.99) was a decent attempt at this classic Asian snack.  The Korean spiced beef sat nicely in the white folded bun riddled with black sesame seeds.  Green onions and cucumbers finished it off. It was messy, wonder bread fun.

BBQ Beef Buns $3.99
BBQ Beef Bun $3.99

Strategies to get kids to eat vegetables usually involves dousing them in cheese, sauce and/or butter.  This is usually the case with brussel sprouts and broccoli but Korean Cowboy does it with corn.  It tasted like one of Gramma’s casseroles before anybody gave a shit about butter or fat.   It was ridiculously but regretfully good, much like a vat of movie popcorn or a slice of greasy, deep dish pizza.

Skillet Corn $5.99
Skillet Corn $5.99

I’m always interested in a good taco so I ordered one of each of the korean beef, spicy pork and chicken.  Each was filled with a cabbage salad and the aforementioned meats in a rather large flour tortilla.  They were decent but in a city in which tacos have become a foodie staple, they fell a little short.  The shell was too much and swallowed instead of housing the taste of the proteins.  Retrospectively, I should have ordered ssam (lettuce wraps) instead to allow the filling to shine a little more.

Tacos $10.99 for 3
Tacos $10.99 for 3

The wings were also a bit disappointing.  They were “cooked the Korean way” and bathed in your choice of a number of sauces. After the anju, I expected a wing with a compilation of crunch, succulent sweet and sinister spice. They weren’t as crunchy nor sweet or spicy enough.  They had the texture of a M and M breaded wing that had been baked in the oven for 20 minutes. The fries were fresh cut and tasted especially good when dipped  in the hot dog or rice cake sauce.

K-wings and Fries $14.99
K-wings and Fries $14.99

My Take

Korean cowboy is a playful addition to mid-town Toronto dining.  Whether it is the decent choice of craft beer, a glass of soju or a variety of anju, malarkey ensues the minute you sit down.  The food is a mix of dorm room creations and campfire provisions developed through the delirium of a culinary mad hatter who wants to fuse Korean fare with edible Americana. The tacos and wings were average.  Despite the fact I tore through a good part of the menu, there are still things like sawdust chicken,G-PO (file fish), kimchi fries and squid and pear salad not to mention a number of pork dishes including mocha pork belly and the King Koink platter.  Maybe next time I visit I’ll throw on a mercury-free fedora and hum Kid Rock’s “I’m a cowboy baby….I can smell a pig from a mile away” as I strut up Yonge street and sniff the air.

Korean Cowboy on Urbanspoon

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Signs: Where Ordering a Beer Looks like a Ralph Macchio Impression

When I heard the name Signs I wondered if long-haired freaky people could apply or whether I needed a membership care to get inside.  As I looked more into the restaurant, I found myself humming the five man electrical band lyrics out loud.  Signs is another of a number of emerging restaurants which attempt to bring different humanitarian efforts into the kitchen.  With restaurants like Paintbox and Hawthorne, which work on skills training (the former focuses on training and career path opportunities for  people in the Regent Park area) and O.Noir, (whose theme is an awareness and  employment of the blind by serving food in the dark), Signs provides career opportunities and growth for the Deaf in the hospitality industry.

Upon arrival you are greeted by a hostess who explains the process:  You are served by somebody who is deaf and you sign your order using the prompts outlined on the menu.  Sounds easy…it’s not. I’m the kind of guy who has struggled with every map and instruction manual ever made.  This effort was no different. Take the beer list for example.  I attempted to order a $9 cracked canoe using gestures that looked like Ralph Macchio cleaning Pat Morita’s car.  The waiter sort of laughed and showed me the correct way; you simply make a zigzag with your finger to symbolize “cracked” and simulate paddling a canoe.

The decor is clean and fresh and the walls are lined with posters demonstrating how to sign letters of the alphabet along with a few important words including important potent potables such as Whisky and Vodka.

For dinner, I started with the $5 soup of the day (chicken and spinach I believe) which I once again failed sign properly and in my panic forgot to take a picture of.  It was well-balanced and not overly salty.

For an entree I decided on the chicken piri-piri for $28. To order it, you had to sign a chicken (which is like giving yourself a beak) and signal the heat sign which is like making a fanning motion in front of your mouth.  It was a bit slow to arrive and when it did, it was pretty average.  It had moderate spice and was served with blandish roasted vegetables and a sweet potato side.  The plate was very orange and looked a bit like a Halloween hangover.

Chicken Piri-Piri $28
Chicken Piri-Piri $28

For dessert, I decided against the 30 minute apple crisp (they offer a 30 minute dessert they bake from scratch nightly) that the rest of the table ordered and opted  for the $9 Nutella Tiramisu instead.  Once again, it was average at best although I enjoyed that despite using sickly sweet nutella, the use of cocoa powder among other things managed to keep it from turning it into a cloying confection.

Nutella Tiramisu $9
Shaky pic of Nutella Tiramisu $9

My Take

Located on Yonge near Wellesley, Signs is definitely more of a tourist destination than one for a foodie.  It gets good reviews on yelp and urbanspoon and is ranked 15th among over 6000 restaurants in Toronto on Tripadvisor.  The space is large, roomy and clean and the staff are kind and courteous.  There is humility when you order, especially if you have no spatial reasoning capabilities. The food is average at best but in the end didn’t necessarily diminish the experience. You also pay for the experience.  A pint of cracked canoe is a whopping $9 and the chicken piri piri was $28.  At least you can get a bowl of good soup for $5.

Signs is a mix of tourism and novelty sprinkled with hints of decent food  In the end, is a humbling reminder that not everybody can hear bacon sizzle, hum Five Man Electrical Band or listen to Peter Cetera sign about the Glory of Love while the Karate Kid courts his girl with moves that look like me trying to order a pint of beer.

Signs Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

 

 

Review:Toronto:Downtown:Reds Midtown Tavern

Another addition to the Yonge and Gerrard hotspot is Reds Midtown Tavern; the younger sister of Reds Wine Tavern in the financial district. The decor and set-up is similar.  It has a classy interior, boasting a fresh decor and a large bar as the centrepiece.  There is less emphasis on wine and more on cocktails and craft beer.  The first time I went to Red’s other location, it was shortly after the re-opening when Ryan Gallagher was still at the helm. The menu was heavy on fresh fish and seafood but this concept seems to be on the backburner now in favour of more traditional fare. You can still get a pan-roasted salmon and a cioppino, but the focus now seems to be on a generic mix of favourites such as pan-roasted salmon, steak frites and lamb shank as well as a daily curry hand-crafted by the chef.

For the first little while I felt like I was in the movie “Groundhog Day”.  There was a  repetitive nature of the evening as per the Bill Murray classic.  There was a bit of confusion around the service strategy.  As soon as I was seated some crispy potato flatbread arrived.  Wrong table.  Then a couple of beer came by.  Wrong table.  Finally, a runner carrying a vat of mussels walked toward me.  I just pointed to the adjacent table and said “It’s for them”. In fact, I thought I felt Punxsutawney Phil rub up against my leg once or twice.  There has been a surge of bubbly waitresses in Toronto as of late and this was no exception.  She arrived happy and informed me without breaking a smile that  they were out of the double dip and that “Sri Lankan beef” was the curry of the night. Come to think of it, she did remind me a bit of Andie MacDowell. I put in a drink order and she skipped away.  Sure enough, not two minutes later, I think I felt Phil again as another waiter arrived and told me they were out of double dip and the curry was Sri Lankan beef.

The cocktail list leans toward traditional with many priced at $10 or less. I asked for a highland old fashioned which came with scotch instead of one of the other traditional whiskies.  An orange slice lined the bottom of the glass, held down by a large ice cube.  It was well balanced, tasty and wouldn’t have been disappointed if I had to drink one over and over again.

Highland Old-Fashioned $10
Highland Old-Fashioned $10

The second cocktail I tried was another classic; the Negroni.  To me, a good Negroni should taste like cough medicine…and not the crappy generic stuff either. I mean extra-strength, cherry flavoured Benylin DM.  Red’s hit the mark with a decent $9 offering, made with gin and enough Campari to give it the taste and colour of a real good expectorant.

Negroni $9
Negroni $9

I’m a sucker for a good New England clam chowder, so I started with a cup of their North Atlantic Seafood  for $6.  There are a thousand interpretations on this classic dish. I quite enjoyed the flavour although it was thin for a chowder, there was more fish than clams and it was a bit on the sweet side.

North Atlantic Seafood Chowder $6
North Atlantic Seafood Chowder $6

Intrigued by the earlier attempt to give me some crispy flatbread, I decided to give it a try.  It was an interesting spin on a traditional flatbread, topped with an array of popular flavours like argula, balsamic and whole cloves of roasted garlic. I loved the crunchiness of the “bread”.  It was like a huge crouton underneath a standard Mediterranean salad. I was more than content with one or two small pieces and definitely would recommend as something you share.

Crispy Potato Flatbread $10.75
Crispy Potato Flatbread $10.75

I decided to venture into Asia and ordered the Thai slaw and the Sri Lankan beef curry, going against my cardinal rule of eating out…”if you’re not in a Thai restuarant don’t order Thai”.  Now I can add “if you’re not in a Sri Lankan restaurant, don’t order Sri Lankan”.  Neither dish was bad but just lacked that punch of  intense South Asian flavours, especially the slaw which was rather boring.  At $18.95, I’m convinced I could get a better curry somewhere else for half the price.

Thai Slaw $5.95
Thai Slaw $5.95
Sri Lankan Beef Curry $18.95
Sri Lankan Beef Curry $18.95

The roast chicken was a safer choice. It had all the fundamentals of a good roast chicken..crispy skin, moist meat and a flavourful au jus.  What lacked were the sides.  There was literally one fingerling potato (cut in half), a few pieces of asparagus and a few mushrooms.  For $18.70, I’ll let you decide.

Crispy Roasted Chicken $18.70
Crispy Roasted Chicken $18.70

My Take

Red’s midtown is a great place to grab a drink after work or meet a buddy for a few apps. It’s fun but also loud and chaotic. They have decent shareables, trendy yet traditional cocktails and a good beer list. I have to say it’s less appealing as a dinner destination given the generic nature of the main courses I sampled. In other words, it’s like a Moxie’s or an Earl’s or a Joey’s. Good atmosphere with average, overpriced food.

I’m reminded of a famous line from groundhog day in a conversation between Bill Murray’s character Phil and MacDowell’s Rita:

Phil: Something is… different.

Rita: Good or bad?

Phil: Anything different is good.

It’s not about whether Red’s is good or bad….it’s just not different.
Reds Midtown Tavern on Urbanspoon

Review:Toronto:Downtown:Ramen Raijin

I was at a conference at a nearby hospital and decided to sneak out in order to avoid the generic wraps which graced the lunch table.  It was a frigid day, so a bowl of ramen sounded divine.  I trekked to the Corner of Yonge and Gerrard, hoping I could get a prime time seat at Ramen Raijin.  It was about 80% to capacity so I didn’t have to wait in line.

The first thing I noticed was the set-up.  I found it a lot roomier than some of the other ramen houses nearby.  I was seated along a counter facing away from the kitchen with a side view of a large and attractive sculpture of what I perceived to be some sort of mythical Japanese idol. On the counter sat a menu held together by a clipboard.  One part of the menu was a lunch combo flyer which presented like a grade 8 art project, complete with pictures of a disproportionate chicken and a pig that kind of looked like a cat.  Of greater interest was the offering a small bowl of one of 5 types of ramen and 4 types of rice with a salad for $11.95.  I tend to gravitate toward Shio Ramen and an order of Gyoza and today was no different.  I chose the Soboro Don as the rice dish as part of the combo.

Menu which got an A in art class
Menu which got an A in art class

The starter salad was fresh and well dressed.

Starter Salad
Starter Salad

The gyoza was terrific.  The dough was tender and fried to perfection and the filling with robust with flavour. The dipping sauce was pleasant. They lacked both the greasy or watery nature that I’ve experienced with these dumplings elsewhere.  They were also priced well at less than $3 for 5 dumplings.

Gyoza (less than $3)
Gyoza (less than $3)

I kind of expected a very small bowl of ramen as part of the special but both the soup and rice were quite a reasonable size.  Raijin’s interpretation of the shio included pork shoulder, green onion, Kikurage mushroom, cabbage, egg and black garlic oil.   The shoulder was tender, the egg cooked to a perfect soft boil, the broth was rich and tasty and the noodles were firm and delicious.  This is likely one of the more polar bowls of ramen I’ve tasted mainly because of the distinct flavour of black garlic oil. It has a strong and distinct flavour which could easily take over some of the delicate flavours of the soup itself.  If you love it..great.  If not, you may be a bit disappointed.

As for the rice dish,  The nori was a nice touch but for some reason the bowl was missing the green onions advertised on the lunch combo flyer. As a result,  it was a safe dish with no contrasting taste or contrast.  It was missing any soft and sweet, missing  the crunch and bites the onions would have provided.

Shio Ramen and Soboro Don (part of $11.95 lunch special)
Shio Ramen and Soboro Don (part of $11.95 lunch special)

My Take

Ramen Raijin offers a roomy and comfortable environment with good service and good food. It has a simple yet attractive decor (I like the sculpture) and lots of room to think or eat or people watch…whatever your fancy.  The lunch special is a good value and allows somebody to try an array of flavours whether a fan of pork or chicken. The gyoza are among the best I’ve had at a ramen house. As mentioned, all the components of the ramen were well executed but the liberal use of the Mayu black garlic oil may not appeal to the masses. I wouldn’t hesitate to return on a cold winter day, but I may bring a bunch of green onions just in case.

Ramen Raijin on Urbanspoon

Review:Toronto:Duke’s Refresher + Bar

I often stay at the Eaton Chelsea so I’ve been watching the completion of Duke’s Refresher and Bar with great anticipation. One of at least 3 restaurants associated with the Aura condo complex at Yonge and Gerrard, Duke’s promises a “Coyote Ugly” experience with good food and a great atmosphere.  I must admit, like any warm-blooded male, the thought of being drenched by a fire hose by a woman standing on top of a bar is somewhere on my bucket list.

I dropped in prior to another engagement I had to check out the place and all the elements were in place.  The music was loud, the beers were pouring, the decor was loud and the barkeeps looked like they could have been on the set of the movie itself. I planned to drop by later with a buddy of mine to grab a few drinks, eat a bit of food and catch the rest of the football game.

We got there a little after 10 and the place was packed.  The layout boasts  a number of tables and we were seated at a couple of chairs along the long bar.  We were immediately warmly greeted by a  bartender and manager who welcomed us to Duke’s. We were presented the menu which includes over 40 tap beer ranging from domestics to craft ales. One of the unique aspects of this place is the ability to order 3 ounce samplers of any of them for a dollar and change.  We did exactly that, ordering 7 or 8 craft beer to start.

The beer were served quickly and in the correct order.  Other than that, the conversation was a bit painful.  At this point I need to clarify something.  If you’re picturing the bartender looking  like Penny from the Big Bang Theory, you’d be wrong. Instead, he was like Zack Johnson, her on and off boyfriend on the show. Every beer I liked was his favorite and with every comment I made about the beer (for example, the hoppiness  of the Amsterdam Boneshaker) was answered with one word…”Interesting”.

While looking at the menu, I noticed the Einstein club, which allows patrons to buy a 24 oz stein for $20 which stays on the shelf ready to be filled anytime they come in.  They are also made privy to future special engagements available only to club members. It’s a concept I’ve seen in a number of Michigan bars, so I wondered if Duke’s  was based on this American model.  So, I asked Zack about this and he said  “I thought it was Detroit but you might be right, I think it was Michigan”.   In the end,  despite being opened less than a week, the Einstein club was full and I was unable to reserve one of the many glasses on the shelves behind the bar.

Looking around, about 75% of the staff were male.  I have no problem with male waitstaff, but my  bucket list dream of being doused by water in a bar was…well…extinguished.  Unfortunately, it didn’t mean that other aspects of Coyote Ugly wouldn’t come into play later.

After settling on a pint of Beau’s Tom Green Milk Stout (which is quite delicious), we ordered a couple of things to get a feel for the food menu. The menu focuses on traditional bar foods such as wings, nachos and burgers but also throws in trendy Toronto foods such as fried chicken, sliders and bibimbap.  As per normal, I am drawn to anything with a fried egg, so the Pig & The Egg ($12.95) sandwich seemed like a good call, described as a bacon focaccia sandwich with a fried egg, sausage, bacon, pulled pork, American cheese and braised onions.  The bread would have been divine even if two slices of bacon weren’t etched into it. The egg was cooked properly…giving me a yolkasm (meaning the feeling you get when you pierce a yolk and get the perfect drip).  The triple hit of pork worked as well.  It was a gimmicky sandwich but one I’d order again. We asked for the fries to be upgraded to the infamous garlic ones which they gladly did for a couple of bucks. They were well seasoned, unique and perhaps infamous but  I think the bar has been raised for terrific fries  and these fell a little short, tasting more cafeteria than downtown Toronto bar.

The pig and the egg $12.95 with infamous garlic fries ($2 upcharge)
The pig and the egg $12.95 with infamous garlic fries ($2 upcharge)

Sticking with the egg theme, we decided to give the bacon and shrimp bibimbap a try.  Garnished with avocado, kimchi and egg planted  atop a bed of rice,  it was a noble attempt at this signature Korean dish. The avocado was ripe, the kimchi was decent and the shrimp were cooked perfectly and in reasonable number and the egg produced another yolkasm (this could be my first multiple).  The accompanying hot sauce was thick and delicious, a nice change from the Frank’s that dominates many other menus around the city. If anything the bacon was scarce and almost absent and the dish could have used the saltiness from a seasoning perspective.

Bacon and Shrimp Bibimbap $14.25
Bacon and Shrimp Bibimbap $14.25

Back to the Coyote Ugly thing.  The water spray was out of the question. Unfortunately, the dancing wasn’t.  Halfway through a bite of sandwich, the manager (also a dude) hopped on the bar and greeted the crowd.  A chant of “Dance, Dance” ensued and I hoped something would prevent what was about to happen. Instead, Zack joined him on the bar and a Dance, Dance revolution session broke out. I was speechless.

My Take

Duke’s Refresher + Bar is more a bar than a restaurant located in an area which is desperate from nightlife other than strip joints and pubs. They offer unique drink options like taster size beer for less than $1.50 and the Einstein club. It likely won’t win a slew of culinary awards, but the food (at least what I tried) was decent bar food that matched the overall theme of the place. The staff is friendly,courteous and fun although this may be a bit a crap shoot depending on your expectations. In my case, maybe I expected walking onto the set of Coyote Ugly but instead ended up as  an extra in an odd episode of the Big Bang Theory meets From Dusk Till Dawn.

Duke's Refresher + Bar on Urbanspoon

Review:Toronto:Midtown:Zucca Trattoria

Well outside the garden of trattorias and enotecas  restaurants along College street sits Zucca, which many consider the great pumpkin of Italian food.   It has a Zagat rating of 26 and Joanne Kates’ has had it just out of the bronze medal position for two years running, trumping godfathers like Mistura and prodigies like Campagnolo.  Zucca’s message is simple; turn great ingredients into great food.

Must

I have two confessions:

1.  I like playing with my food. I had memories of high  school when I had the opportunity to dissect a fish instead of  a frog. However, instead of searching for lungs and livers I discovered bouquets of slightly charred thyme and rosemary.  I’d give the fish itself an A.  My dissection skills, however,  get a solid  B as I only had a few of those awkward moments (you know…when you miss a bone and want to save face by subtly removing  it from your mouth with the cough into the napkin trick  or just chewing lots, swallowing and hoping you don’t end up with an mild esophageal tear).

2.  I have no idea what kind of fish I had.  It was deep sea, delicious and referred to as scarinno on the bill, a word that does not exist on google searches or food dictionaries and costs $40. I emailed Zucca, tweeted Mario Batelli and searched Italian fish blogs to no avail.  So, in the end I have to swallow my pride in a manner similar to one of those tiny fish bones.

Mystery FIsh- Not Branzino although it sure looks like it
Mystery Fish- Not Branzino although it sure looks like it ($40)

How can you go wrong with fresh tagliatelle with octopus, pine nuts and a tad of prosciutto?  The $16 appetizer size hit the spot.  The pasta was delicious. It wasn’t overly greasy and the additions had good textural contrast.

Tagliatelle with Octopus and Pine Nuts  $16
Tagliatelle with Octopus and Pine Nuts $16

Maybe

If you want a plate of meat topped with some cheese and a few sliced cactus pears, then you’re in luck.  It’s a decent offering of fresh ingredients with a pleasant presentation.

Zucca Prosciutto with Cactus Pear and Parmigiano ($16)
Zucca Prosciutto with Cactus Pear and Parmigiano ($16)

The affogato di caffe was a fitting end to a meal.  It strays a bit from simple with two types of gelato and a massive  wafer but maintains the fundamentals of this classic dessert…and it even comes with a cute paper doilee.

Affagato di caffe
Affagato di caffe ($10)

Mundane

Although there was  nothing mundane about the food, it is old school in service and decor (including a rather awkward design). It’s a bit on the yawnish side and will likely never be considered trendy, but it is well established without the need to peddle  wine on tap, neapolitan wood fired pizza or mama’s homemade meatballs.

My Take

Pine nuts, polipo and pears…..oh my!  Although it’s a bit sleepy, it has great food, great service and nameless fish.  It’s fitting for a business meal or grandma’s 70th birthday but wouldn’t be the venue where  you’d retweet witty vignettes about the jays home opener or copious consumption of cleverly named cocktails.  It’s a place where you can relax, wear slacks, consume , hear yourself think and once the food comes not have to wait very long for proof that the great pumpkin does exist.

Zucca Trattoria on Urbanspoon