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Nov 12, 2006 12:46 AM

Roberto's - Great meal, but low-class, vulgar owner

First time to Roberto's. The two of us arrived at 3:55 on Saturday (they open at 4:00) and there were already about 10 people seated.

We started with a special of sauteed shrimp and scallops in a butternut squash sauce. It sounded interesting and proved to be a fabulous one-of-a-kind treat.

One entree was veal picante, in a sort of spicy green and red pepper-studded white sauce that was far more satisfying than it may sound. The other entree was fettucine in a light cream sauce with fresh shaved truffle - a $55 special. They shaved the truffle tableside. It was quite good, though curiously lacking in truffle aroma and flavor. In addition, we shared an exceptional penne in tomato sauce - one of the most elementally flavorful versions I've ever had. A caraf of house Montepulciano satisfyingly accompanied the above.

We each had a pretty good tartuffo and espresso to round out the meal, which was surprisingly excellent. In fact, we were already planning our next visit when gastonomic horror struck.

It was now 6:00 and we were liesurely winding down our meal when a waiter plopped down the check. We paid it continued to chat for a bit. One waiter after another came over to ask if wanted anything else. We didn't. All we wanted was to relax a little before leaving. True, there were many people crowded into the bar area awaiting tables. But spending a little over two hours enjoying a meal is hardly unreasonable (even though we noticed that the average turn over was just over one hour), especially when spending $250.

Then the unthinkable happened. A man I took to be the owner came over and brusquely asked if we had a good dinner. We said we did, and he said grazie and walked away. He said it curtly and sharply and without the slightest hint of graciousness or hospitality. In fact, his tone, demeanor and attitude - especially when coupled with the prior harassment by the waiters - communicated a single unmistakeable message: "Get the f*ck out". Bear in mind, we had JUST finished dessert and coffee. We did leave. But we did so with decidedly ambivalent feelings about the restaurant (hence the title of my post).

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  1. I know you probably don't want to hear this but I think you were being unreasonable and they weren't. I'd probably feel differently if you seemed genuinely clueless about the situation and the business, but you seem quite aware and chose your course of action anyway. Just my opinion.

    1. " Get the F out? "
      Thats Italian for " Thanks for coming, we'll see you again".
      You must know understand the culture.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. I'm with Chow Gal and Steve R. here. Probably don't have much to add except that I think that words like "unthinkable" and "harassment" are kind of hyperbolic. I mean, when someone introduces "And then the unthinkable happened..." I brace myself for a spitting story, or Mothra swooping down to clear y'all out-- not someone being too brusque for your sensibilities.

          1. all i know is that if i were one of those people crowded into the bar area patiently but anxiously waiting for a table, and i had to sit there watching a table relaxing, hanging out, and sipping their espresso for 45 minutes, i would be thinking something much different than "grazie" towards those people. just sayin'.