As my dear wife, Mrs H, has already indicated her neutrality on the restaurant, I will now exorcise the demon a bit and allow myself to make a couple of critical statements about the seemingly pedestrian eatery. I don’t think that every experience should end with a gold leafed brownie drowning in a mote of vanilla ice cream,Â but I can’t help but notice a depressingly strong vein of “meh,” restaurants are finding their way into seemingly sophisticated areas such as Manhattan Beach.
Let us begin with atmosphere. For all intensive purposes seemed innocuous enough, things were clean, the staff was cheerful and prompt, there wasn’t a moment when I was fearing for my life or wondering “in whose drug crazed hands have I landed?” But the menu did lead me to the idea that there would a generous helping of “chain restaurant tom-foolery” lurking around in the shadows. The menu did contain all the staples of a normal Italian eatery but there was something Panda-Express -ish about the entire establishment’s identity or lack there of.
The thing on the menu that immediately caused me to question the legitimacy of the food, the words “USDA organic,” stood proudly next to their salad offerings. Apparently the leaves were organic, but the rest of the menu was “dangerous.” I hate the whole marketing shell game of organic, usda organic, certified organic. My poop is organic but there is no real market for it. Seems like a bit of ploy but on with the real issues.
I had Penne Arrabiata with chicken for my protein. I will admit that my dish was the most delicious of the four but that doesn’t really help very much. There was a Lasagna, Spaghetti and Meatballs plus the wife’s aforementioned delight. All of the red sauces appeared to share a common over salted undertone that really detracted from the overall flavor of the food. The pastas themselves seemed to be cooked close to al dente but ended up seeming to be some sort of pale starch merely there to check out the scenery and possibly score some pot.
The establishment fancies itself a catering service, so every meal item is really tailored to be produced and distributed in high volumes, like the Harry Potter novels. But with the lack of distinction, other than protein, the dishes border on insincere…like Harry Potter novels. That’s right nerds, I said it. Italian food is something so simple that it baffles me how often it is reduced to utter slop.
Hopefully the next time you go to an italian restaurant you will leave commercial establishments like this one by the wayside.
Zach “disgruntled eater” Meyer