I made it to Sotto Cafe today for lunch. This is the "brother" restaurant of Sotto Sopra. Before I begin, let me state that I am a fan of Sotto Sopra so I had somewhat high expectations for a casual lunch spot that was associated with it.
My expectations were raised higher when I saw their website:
Although the menu didn't blow me away, I thought that if they put as much care and design into their food as their website, it couldn't be that bad.
First thing I noticed was that it was NOT what I expected. For some reason I expected a cafe (was it the name perhaps?). I envisioned sort of an classic Italian version of Sobo Cafe or maybe a more casual Vespa. Instead, it looks more like a lunch cafeteria / salad bar place.
My girlfriend (hey babe!) ordered a salad with grilled chicken. We were told that they didn't have the salads that were printed on the menu (all ordering is done at the cash register, while others are waiting behind you to pay). In fact, the only salad they had was a serve-yourself-salad bar. This wasn't much more than a bunch of lettuce, a six-pan of black olives and some Sons of Italy giardineria.
I ordered some soup and we split a margehrita pizza. I figured out for myself that I had to go over to the soup bowl and laddle myself some into a styrofoam container. It was minestrone. It couldn't be Progresso, could it?
It would be difficult to make the pizza worse. It was prefabbed pizza shells, tasteless sauce and plenty of white, flavorless shredded mozerella cheese. Any school cafeteria with a membership at Restaurant Depot could put out the identical product.
I give this place in its current form a D-. The only thing keeping it from an F would be that I have this vague feeling that maybe my expectations were too high. I truely hope someone from Sotto Sopra stops by for lunch and can return some sanity to this place. Its amazing that they would allow their good name to be attached to this establishment in its current form. Please improve the food!!!
Bottom line: an ok cafeteria if you work in the building and need to eat something quick before that 1 o'clock meeting, but I wouldn't walk across Light Street to eat there.
i was never a big fan of sotto sopra. i believe the price point suggests a 3nyt star rustic italian food, (maybe babboesgue??). to the point over cooked pasta swimming in either x-v or some type of jus. no real flavor. the interior is upbeat and entertaining though. the last time i was there was appx. 3 years ago. sotto cafe, have not been to looked at the website. seems like a "au bon pain" cafeteria breakfast/lunch take destination....