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Sep 12, 2002 06:40 PM

Columbia, MO Restaurant Review: Dali's

  • m

Restaurant Review: Dali's

Unable to stomach a thousandth helping of Murry's Chicken Poblano, Mr. Right and I headed out recently to south Columbia's newest offering, Dali's.
Formerly Conte's (which closed at lightning speed), Dali's is located adjacent to the Citizens Community Bank on Southampton Drive.

A cheerfully anorexic blonde led us to a patio overlooking the drainage pond that acts as a watershed for the Wal-Mart Temple of Dance (I know it has
another name, but I forget) and the other architectural abominations that comprise Corporate Lake. If you're a fan of Dry-Vit construction, this is the view for you.

With no plants and no music, the "lakeside" patio is surprisingly charm-free. They've only been open a week; maybe they'll get around to gussying it up soon.

Dali's offers an extensive menu of tapas along with Spanish entrees and paella. There's a moderately priced wine list and a good selection of wines by the glass.

Our waitress was friendly but completely untrained. Neither she nor the bartender could answer questions about the wines, and the only thing on the
menu she had tasted was the potatoes. Note to management: If you're going to hire with the little head, at least FEED the girls.

She also brought ot dirty wine glasses and burbled on about watching her diet and how Dali's needed a new computer system already because things were
"too hectic."

Our five tapas came out quickly and all at once. Mr. Right ordered calamari sautéed in lemon and olive oil, shrimp in red pepper sauce and tortilla española (egg, potato and onion omelette). I opted for the patates alioli (roasted potatoes with garlic mayonnaise) and marinated mushrooms. All of the dishes were large enough for two people to share, and the meal came with
bread and alioli. (NB: Our waitress asked if we wanted more bread before the basket was half-empty, whisked it away and charged us $2.25 for a refill.)

The verdict? Spanish food is not fiery, but usually bursting with freshness and flavor. These tapas all tasted vaguely the same, and nothing made us go
"Mmmmm." Since Dali's owners are the same people who gave us the late great Café Olé, this was a surprise.

The prices were reasonable had the food been more interesting (5 tapas, a bottle of decent wine and a generous tip came to about $60). But the annoyingly amateur service and relative flavorlessness of the food mean that we'll probably give them a year or so to work the bugs out before coming back. If they make it that long, that is.

In the meantime, we'll see you at our handful of usual haunts. Chicken Poblano, anyone?

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  1. m
    michael penfield

    The usual spelling is aioli, not alioli. I used to play far too much Scrabble for my own good and aioli was a great way to dump lots of vowels from your rack.

    1. Yeah, have some more of Murray's Pablano and get an order of fried green bell pepper rings for me, will ya?

      What's your impression of Everett's?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jane

        I haven't tried the Everett's in Columbia, which I believe was the first one, but the second one is near my home in Lee's Summit. (They just opened or are opening a third in Overland Park, too)

        My family has enjoyed everything we have ever had there. Love the onion rings. I think their burgers are a bit overdone for my taste and the prices are a little too high. But the service has always been good, the restaurant is attractive and they have a great patio, although it does overlook 291 highway.

        How is the original?

      2. We went to a tapas bar, here in the Atlanta area, for the first time about a week ago. Comparing your experience to ours - which I posted on the South board - is interesting. Your waitress and I both found the roasted potatoes with aioli to be among the best items on the menu. Without wine, our bill for seven tapas, dessert and one iced tea came to just over $40. Our outside dining area, was the sidewalk in front of the restaurant in a shopping center on a busy street. Your view may have been better than ours.