La Buca - SHORT REPORT
Ugh. Why do people constantly sing praises for this place. I know its a "Momma & Papa" establishment, but i have had better service at a diner. We had the burratta, which was very good - but that was it. I had the special which was a veal chop, which was pounded, lightly floured and severely over done. The mushroom sauce was tasty but the meat had the texture of an old shoe. When meat has been deprived of all juices it is no longer "medium". SIGH.
My Boyfriend had the carbonara which was flavorless and uninspired. I know there are only about 5 ingredients in Carbonara (I make a Killer version myself) but I'm quite certain they substituted pecorino romano for ice.
Dessert was....wait a minute, I forgot what we had for dessert. Mmmm, couldn't have been that fantastic now, could it?
Anyway, this place just didn't do it for me or the S.O. Either La Buca is SLIDING down a slippery slope or some people on this board just don't know good Italian. Hounds, which is it?
Was there last night, as it turns out. No, they haven't expanded yet, and I forgot to ask when they might (though the wall that they'd have to knock down was decidedly intact!).
As for a downhill slide in food/service, I haven't detected it. We ordered the burrata to start, I had papardelle carbonara, my 2 friends had the thin linguini (name escapes me) with bolognese and the other had a pizza that appeared to be topped with pieces of chicken and broccoli. I also had a glass of the house white, a sort of fruity Pinot grigio (sorry, forgot name).
They actually have a wine list printed now (with prices), w/ about 15 bottles to choose from, but just a single red or white by the glass.
As for the food, the burrata was inhaled - it's just that good, esp. with the warm bread they give you. The carbonara was simple, light (i.e. not overly-rich), not overcooked in the slightest, and as good as I remember. Raves on the other items.
We'd made reservations earlier in the day, and it was crowded of course. Service was fine (when you can literally reach over and nudge your server during any point in the meal, how bad could it be?).
Wow. I'm sorry to hear about your experiences. Mine was perfectly wonderful. Our waiter was polite and helpful and everything we ordered, was incredible. By far the best gnocci I've had since Italy. I think this is a place to go for a good plate of pasta, the cheese plate appetizer and the tirimisu, if they have any left. The basics. I still highly reccommend this place to all my friends.
I have enjoyed La Buca several times per month for the past couple of years...it is extremely difficult for this born and raised Italian boy to find authentic cuisine outside of Italy or his own kitchen and La Buca provided a local place that had good(not excellent),consistant primis...pastas, salads and gnocchi(hit or miss)...the secondis were never their strong suit and at times terrible...but the service was very Italian and the ability to bring one's own wine made it a home away from home.
But, alas, things change, and the quiet refuge became well known and very popular and as it often happens the quality suffered...the pastas overcooked, the sauces lacking the finesse they once possessed...and even more important, Mama and the family are not always there as they once were. So I do go back once in a while for a quick dinner but I always leave wishing what it was a year ago!
Ate at La Buca Sunday night. The service has actually warmed up now that I've been there a number of times. They did mess up the order a bit, but were apologetic and corrected the error swiftly. They were gracious about serving a birthday cake we'd brought in, even adding a candle. All I ever order is the gnocchi (which was a tiny be more dense than usual on Sunday--I presume a temporary glitch) and the burrata and I've never been disappointed. The pizza has always drawn raves from my companions and we've never ventured into the specials and I really have no desire to. It irks me too that they have no wine list. You just have to ask and then, indelicately inquire as to price. Finally, there is no air conditioning and was really unbearable. I can't think of a nicer casual place to go in cool weather for burrata and gnocchi in a distinctly Italian atmosphere. It concerns me that La Buca might aspire to more than it's capable of and that we hounds seem to be expecting too much.
I think it's a victim it's own hype...
I had dinner there a few months ago and I was excited too. I love great italian and couldn't wait to try. However, before the meal, I had to walk through their kitchen and seeing it, totally brought my expectations back down to earth. I've been in many busy kitchens before in my past career and this place was nothing special. There was no mama, their ingredients were standard and the 'staff' actually cooking was the 'staff' you'd find at any restaurant. It was ironic that a few days before that meal, I had seen the Sopranos where Tony lays in on Artie for letting his 'staff' do all the cooking... :/
So when I walked back to my table, I stuck to strictly to thing the hounds had raved about. Namely the burratta and the Gnocchi, the best I've had EVER. But SO had the meat special and it was HARDLY special. Like yours over cooked and under spiced.
All in all, if I were in the neighborhood again, I would be back (I really did adore that Gnocchi) but if it was a special trip or for a special ocassion, no way...