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Nov 26, 2006 02:45 AM

Has anyone tried Da Vinci's at the Long Beach Airport yet?

They just opened a few weeks (days?) ago, but had a "Coming Soon" sign up for donkey's years, so I've been curious. I looked at their menu, and it's a bit too high end for me to try without a recommendation. You'd get to watch the planes taking off, though.

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  1. It's actually been open for a few months now, but you're right, the "Coming Soon" banner was up for about 2-3 years. Ate there about a month ago with my wife and son.

    In short, a terrible meal, and expensive to boot. On the good side, it's a nice looking, spacious room (putting aside the obligatory Da Vinci-esq artwork), high windows give a good view of the action at Long Beach Airport. Very extensive menu (maybe too much so). Service was polite, rather formal, a bit slow, but friendly. Wine service was good (although they were already out of the first wine I ordered, surprising considering how long the restaurant's been open), with decent stemware. The wine list is OK, not great.

    The food, however, was downright bad. My asparagus soup was flavorless. We did pastas for main courses, figuring that would be a good test of the place. Ravioli's stuffed with venison tasted more like a grainy hamburger filling, and the pasta itself was mushy in part, and undercooked in other parts. My son's carbonara was bitter to the point he couldn't eat it. My wife's agnolotti with truffle butter was actually bland, which isn't an easy feat with truffles (supposedly) in the mix. And the pastas are priced mostly in the high-teens, low-twenties, way too high IMO. Eating at Da Vinci is not cheap (for comparison, it's a good 20% higher than Christie's).

    Not sure if this is just new-restaurant syndrome, but I'm not optimistic. The waiter claimed they're doing great business, especially at lunch, so I'm not sure they'll get much pressure to improve things. We'll try it again just to make sure the first try wasn't a fluke. But as far as I'm concerned, the place is strictly all show, no go, until proven otherwise.

    For pastas, you can do far better for 40% less money at La Parolaccia down in Belmont Heights.

    1. Yeah, gag! My friend sent back her first order (some special) and was guaranteed to love the replacement, a lobster/crab ravioli. The crab tasted fresh from the can. I had carbonara which was unremarkable. The wine was decent but what's strange is the cellar it up in the rafters. It was literally warm wine. The waiter, purportedly straight from New York, states the temp was in the 60's in there and didn't seem concerned. The atmosphere is impressive but not worth the price. Steer clear.

      1. I went for a work function a few weeks ago and found the whole thing off putting. The place looks like it belongs in some Vegas casino, way over done...almost cartoonish. We found the wine list sadly lacking and the food was pretty expensive considering they saved so much money by holdling off on pesky things like seasoning or fresh herbs. I had a huge piece of utterly tastelss Ahi on a bed of cabbage and it was $30.00! Would not go back.

        1. How funny, I just went here for a work function, too, and the food was actually not bad. Of course, it was all free for me, so my perspective was probably a bit skewed. I have no idea how much any of it cost, but I can say it wasn't bad, thought decidedly not spectacular. The starter bruschetta was average. The topping was nice, fresh, and well-seasoned, but the bread was soggy/stale. Of course it had been sitting on the table a while when we go there, so the poor texture might have come from the juice of the diced tomatoes. I had New York Strip steak and it was tender and perfectly medium rare. It was a bit bland though and I ended up putting on quite a bit of salt and pepper. I enjoyed the shallots, artichokes, and mushrooms that topped the steak however. The deep-fried shallots were a nice combo of crispy exterior and bouncy interior, and for me, it's hard to screw up artichokes or mushrooms. The salad was alright, a bit too fruity/sweet for my taste. It was the strawberry vinaigrette dressing. The tart cranberries and walnuts help to offset some of the sweetness though. The dessert was nicely presented but looked better than it tasted. They were choux a la creme and tasted freshly defrosted. The pastry skin seemed water-logged. The filling was nice though, just the right amount of sweetness and creaminess. Also, the bread from the bread basket wasn't too bad either. They had a nice one with herbs and parmesan cheese I believe it was....I had heard nightmares about the service at this place, but it was actually attentive and pretty on point that night.

          I'd say it was an average night or maybe slightly above average. I guess if I had paid for it, I would've expected way better than average though.