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English is Italian?

bxgirl Oct 3, 2006 11:37 PM

Has anyone eaten here recently? What is the food like, and is it a "scene"? The idea sounds interesting, but I nedd some first-hand opinions.

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    DavyTheFatBoy Nov 20, 2006 12:41 AM

    Just tried Brunch at Todd English's Olives last Sunday, and boy was it crap. He must be busy at his place in Biloxi or something. I would not bother with any of his places again!

    1. andreas Nov 19, 2006 12:22 PM

      We went last night, and I have to side, mostly, with the negative reviews. Coming from Toronto we are incredibly spoiled when it comes to good quality Italian food and EiI came up short. The main problem, in my opinion, is that the place over promises and under delivers. The food feels rushed and mass produced. The service was perfunctory at best, the waiters rushed and overworked.

      The evening started promising, with some smoked eggplant, some chicken liver pate and cauliflower dip. All three were excellent.

      We then had the smoked meat, which was good, but nothing special. The accompanying tomato and eggplant salsa were cold, rather than room temperature, and had obviously just been taken out of the fridge. A shame. We then had braised lamb ribs, which again were excellent and the highlight of the evening.

      The pasta course was...rubbish. Terrible sweet potato gnocci - and I mean terrible. Heavy, with a skin on the unidentifiable sauce they came in. The risotto was mushy, overcooked and obviously prepared that afternoon, then kept hot. A real disappointment. The other three pastas were not as bad, but nothing was great, nothing was prepared with love and attention.

      We had ordered the handmade mozzarella, which turned out to be a bit of a highlight. The cook preparing it was knowledgeable, friendly and keen to share - a pleasant break from the surly wait staff.

      For the main course, the chicken with mushrooms in marsala was ok, the beef was good again and the fish was old. The food felt like it was produced by a bunch of untrained kitchen grunts rather than by dedicated chefs. I consider myself a competent home cook and I could have done better on almost every dish myself. We left without bothering with pudding and certainly will not be returning.

      1. d
        DKH Oct 10, 2006 11:22 PM

        If you want to go you should do so soon. Chodorow is planning on turning it into "The Maxim Club" which is supposed to be an "an upscale version of the Hawaiiantropic club". Also the 39 dollar deal is not really that much of a deal when you think of it. it is the same as spending $12 on an app and $27 on an entree. My recomendation would be the enoteca at Del Posto they have a great $41 four course tasting menu wine pairing 4 of them are only $19. and the food is in my opinion VASTLY superior. So for the about same money you get better food and a better atmosphere. Only drawback is they only take reservations day of.
        hope that helped

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          Foodaholic Oct 10, 2006 09:51 PM

          Kind of like BXGirl, I have not been. What is the $39 deal all about? From what I have read, it is a p/p cost that allows for multiple family style dishes of both meat and pasta to be served? Is it AYCE? How many people should go for maximum fun? Is this a date-worthy establishment?

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            ellenb Oct 4, 2006 04:15 PM

            I have to side w/ the negative reviews on this one. I was intrigued by the concept and am a fan of the space. After an enjoyable complimentary pizza in the bar while waiting for our table, the entire meal was a total disappointment - service, food, portions, prices, the works.

            1. Chef99 Oct 4, 2006 12:13 PM

              If it's a "scene", it's strictly for the tourists.

              Don't waste a meal on this place. There are so many better restaurants in NYC.

              1. b
                Briek Oct 4, 2006 01:07 AM

                I actually had a very nice experience at English is Italian. I went a couple of months ago with some friends. It was family-style. I thought that the pasta dishes were a lot better than the meat dishes. They had a great squash-filled pasta at the time. They also made mozzarella at your table, which sounds gimmicky, but it tasted wonderful.

                I was also a little apprehensive to eat there because I hadn't heard good things, but everyone in my group thoroughly enjoyed the food and the service (as a warning...it was quite loud inside).

                1 Reply
                1. re: Briek
                  designerboy01 Oct 4, 2006 06:13 AM

                  I felt the same as Briek. There were some really awful reviews about the place and some that were great. I went on a recommendation of a friend who threw his girlfriend's birthday party there. I trust the guy and went. I'm glad I did and the food was pretty good.

                2. m
                  MRS Oct 3, 2006 11:44 PM

                  OMG...do not eat there! The service is crap...and the food is not good at all. There is no scene, I can assure you. My husband was mortified when he took clients there!

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