Valentino - new menu?
Has anyone tried the new menu at Valentino in Santa Monica? I heard that their chef of many years has returned and they are redecorating?
New menu is great -- just like old times. Angelo (I think) is the chef. And yes, they seem to be doing something to the space -- way overdue -- though it does not appear to be finished.
Valentino was so bad last night that my non-hound husband threatened to post his own review.
Service was laughable -- one waiter and about 4 non-English speaking bus-boy for 10-12 tables. Where to begin - no menus for 30 minutes? Plastic champagne classes. No wine list until after the first course arrived? Having to flag someone down every time we needed anything? I've had better service almost everywhere except C&O and Father's Office.
Decor - is inexplicable. Very Golden Girls meets old modernist. Bathroom was dingy at the best and possibly dirty.
Food was REALLY disappointing; In particular the entrees were BAD. Dry, boring, lonely quail and tasteless (no sauce) short ribs with flavorless couscous; garnished with 1/2 a sliced tomato. Both needed salt. Duckling crepes and wild boar pasta were just o.k. We did enjoy the fresh mushroom ravioli. Desert memu was completely uninspiring; so we decided to skip ordering. They did bring us a canoli with a "Happy Anniversary" script on the plate. Nice guesture - delivered after we'd asked for the check and garnished with lots of nuts (even though we'd told the waiter twice about my husband's nut allergy.)
Felt so stupid that I didn't try Via Veneto -- based on Chowhound's recommendations, instead of Valentino based on history, Zagats, Citysearch etc. We were so dissappointed - which is rare when you go to a good restuarant, without a budget in mind.
Why does Valentino get good reviews and ratings? I had the same bad experience and wouldn't even go back when Piero offered to buy me dinner after I sent him a ranting letter. I can only imagine that the food critic/magazine editor wine nights in their private room have something to do with it...