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Sep 3, 2006 03:50 PM

Disappointing dinner at Tomaso's

We were in the mood for Italian on Friday night and in the neighborhood, so chose Tomaso's. The food was okay but the service was strange. The waiter kept trying to upsell us, but his behavior was brusque. Since neither of us was ravenous, and the portions we saw being served looked pretty sizeable, we opted against having an appetizer. My husband chose the Sicilian Feast: sausages, meatball, braggiole and spaghetti bolognese (combo of beef, veal & pork). I wanted to keep it simple and just a tad lighter than that, so I asked if they would make me linguine with garlic and oil, even though it wasn't on the menu. "Sure, we do that. No salad? Nothing to start?" No, thanks. We each ordered a glass of chianti classico.

The bread came with a big ramekin full of classic snail butter: butter mixed with a ton of garlic and parsley. It seemed - and tasted - a bit inappropriate in an Italian restaurant. My husband asked for some olive oil instead. When we'd each eaten a piece of bread, a busboy was wandering nearby with a new bread basket, looking for the table who'd requested it (not us). Our waiter pushed him in our direction and told him we'd asked for it. Puzzled, the busboy took our first basket, still more than half full, and left the new one.

We were given a lagniappe, consisting of 4 pieces of bruschetta with a small mound of salad in the middle. This was okay, nothing special, but it was "free," so why find fault? If I'd ordered it, I would have been disappointed.

My husband's Sicilian Feast wasn't bad - decent pasta, heavy and slightly bland braggiole, nice meatball, terrific sausage. My linguine with oil and garlic was dull, dull, dull. Doctored with a bit of his sauce, though, it was edible.

The waiter came by, naturally while we both had a mouthful of food, and asked if my husband would want another glass of wine (his still had several inches left in it). After swallowing, he said he'd probably have another glass, but not just yet. He just wanted the waiter to go away. Not 5 minutes later, the waiter deposited a second glass on the table and quickly stepped away.

When we'd eaten as much as we could, we asked for a check. "What? No dessert?" No thanks. "No coffee?" Again, no. Our waiter appeared to be disappointed that he couldn't raise our check any higher and kept looking at the untouched 2nd basket of bread, which he took away with him before bringing the check - $83. Not worth it, when the only memorable thing about the meal was the sausage and the incredibly commercial and tacky art on the walls.

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  1. I assume you are speaking of the restaurant at 3225 East Camelback Road Phoenix, AZ?

    1. The Sicilian Feast sounds straight out of the Olive Garden. I don't see it listed on the menus of either the Phoenix or Chandler locations. Perhaps the menus on the Web site are out of date. Can you confirm which Tomaso's this is?

      1. What is it with the Southwest board? People post a restaurant name with no location. Hey everyone, the SW is a large place, please try to remember to put in a city. Add one more gripe. After looking at the web link, shouldn't this be posted under "Chains?"

        3 Replies
        1. re: Mutt

          You are correct about listing the location in the post, plus it can be very helpful to mention the actual restaurant, should more than one exist - two in this case.

          As to "chains," no. This is a locally owned restaurant with two locatons. I've only dined at the 32nd & Camelback restaurant, and it has always been very good without the "upselling" mentioned. However, I have had that sort of thing on several occasions at Christo's (7th St), another Phoenix Italian restaurant, to the point that I will not go back. Food was usually pretty good, but the service very abrasive.


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Go to their web site. They show 6 locations: Phoenix, Chandler, Coronado, Carlsbad, La Costa, Encinitas. Three are under the Tomaso's name and three more with different names. Seems that when you start crossing state lines, you begin to qualify as a chain.

            1. re: Mutt

              Wow, I stand corrected. I did not realize that they had branced out so much. Thanks for pointing out my error. I see what you mean by "chain." Sorry for questioning.

              Maybe too much expansion has taken its toll on the service. Also, this is even more reason to put the city/location in the post, though being on the SW Board should indicate that it was one of the AZ locations, but I could be wrong about that also.

              Hunt, with pasta on his face... !

        2. I've been to teh Chandler location twice. Both times the food was OK...but the service was terrible. We've never been back for a third attempt...I've always assumed the Scottsdale location was better as I hear good things, but had such bad experiences at the one by us that have never had a desire to find out.

          1. Sorry for the confusion as to location. I'm so used to posting on the Manhattan board, that I forget to be specific. And I used to hate it when others did the same on the Southwest board! We dined at the one at 3225 E. Camelback near 32nd Street.

            As to the question of posting on the wrong board, I must also apologize. I didn't know that there was more than one Tomasso's.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Deenso

              I don't have a problem with you posting on SW. Would you post a review of Los Dos Molinos on the Chains board, because of their NYC location? No.

              I read the Chains board for a few weeks and decided it was a waste of my time. I'm glad you posted your review, here.

              1. re: johnseberg

                I agree. Because this post concerns a specific experience at a Tomaso's location in Phoenix, the SW board seems an entirely appropriate venue to discuss the experience. The Chains board seems more appropriate for things that are uniform from one location to another.