Tucson report: Vivace, Primo, Catalina
Vivace report: After my friends raved about Vivace's Caesar salad, we had to try it, and - bleah! I guess I'll have to get new friends. It was wilted and goopy (even the ones they brought to other tables looked bad). Also bad: gummy rice, overly-thick sauce on the crab-stuffed chicken, bland seafood soup, and weird fettucine (both in taste and texture - I can't put my finger on why, but even my 12-yr-old thought the same thing). What was good: the seafood in the seafood soup was perfectly cooked - moist, tender, and fresh! The lemon napoleon dessert was very pretty. Service was not particularly friendly nor attentive.
Primo report: This is becoming my favorite restaurant in Tucson. The wood-burning oven puts out fantastic croutons, pizzas, and breads. On the delicious side: mussels in a flavorful broth; tender, light calamari salad; smoky, thin-crusted pizza; delicate salumi assortment; huge, fresh, and perfectly cooked scallops. At least 4 different salads garnished our apps, and each had a distinctive, delicious dressing. The zeppole were airy and irresistibly additive, and the cannoli so crisp that it shattered in the mouth. Service was excellent.
What was not good: gummy gnocchi garnished the mussels; polenta soup - my husband liked it (he's a huge soup fan), but to me it tasted like the cook tried to salvage a watery polenta (I'm not a soup fan, so it could just be me).
Catalina Steakhouse report: Last month, the StarrPass Marriott Resort took over the locally-run steakhouse at the StarrPass Golf Course, and it's much improved. The lamb chops, crab cakes, and steak fries are fantastic. Not so good: mashed potatoes were cold both times, the prime rib was tough, and the wine list is pedestrian. Service was very friendly and accommodating.