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2nd Visit to Alle Testiere - Disappointment

t
torta basilica Jul 12, 2007 07:15 AM

I know several have commented on things perhaps not being as good as they used to, but since we'd enjoyed one of the best meals of our life there 2 years ago, wanted to re-visit and enjoy again. I guess it's true what they say - 'you can't go back...'

2nd Seating Sat Night - staff started out welcoming & helpful

Can't believe this, but I can't remember what wine we choose - a bianco from Fruili, but I'm blanking past that. It was reasonable (by AT's standards, not what we'd become used to in Umbria & Campagnia) & ok, not great, although highly recommended.

Bread - somewhat stale & tasteless - was looking forward to the cracker bread, but not sure why now.

Grilled razor clams - excellent as remembered - nothing exciting, but lots of them & very very good.

Sauteed softshells - these were 3 teeny tiny 1 bite crabs in a vinegar sauce so overwhelming, I couldn't really discern anything unique about the crabs, but a slight crunch. Very slight.

Spaghetti Vongole - my husband orders this everywhere he goes & was really hoping this would be the stellar crown of Spaghetti Vongoles, out of about 10 so far on this trip! It actually ended up at the very bottom. Totally over cooked pasta - almost mushy. Totally overcooked clams - all were out of their shells & rubbery. Sauce nothing special. Basically unedible.

Gnocchi with baby octopus. Teeny, slightly overcooked gnocchi in a dark brown sauce (I'm assuming some cuttlefish or ink in there, but not that flavorful to tell), miniscule baby octupus no bigger than half my pinky nail with no taste or texture either. This was not bad, just boring.

Swordfish in fines herbes sauce - fish cooked properly, but sauce so overwhelming & overseasoned, it wasn't appetizing at all.

Tuna in Balsamic sauce - I expected a small reduction on the side, Instead it was doused in another overwhelming dark brown, heavily vinegared sauce that had to be scraped off to get to the tuna. Made me wonder what they were trying to hide.

I've got to admit, couple next to us had just a plain roasted turbot & seemed very happy with it.

At this point, the service had really gone downhill - both our pasta plates & our fish plates had sat in front of us for over 10 mins. each before we requested them to be removed, we'd run out of wine, but no one noticed, no one asked how anything was - I definitely felt they knew we were really unhappy & just tried to avoid us, which is rather obvious in such a small restaurant. We left before dessert or coffee. Couldn't take much more disappointment.

Total bill E139 & we sadly won't be returning.

  1. MagnumWino Jul 12, 2007 02:23 PM

    Would you tell me where this place is?

    2 Replies
    1. re: MagnumWino
      erica Jul 12, 2007 05:25 PM

      Venice.

      1. re: erica
        MagnumWino Jul 12, 2007 06:33 PM

        Grazie.

    2. jen kalb Jul 12, 2007 07:26 PM

      chef on vacation? Ive not been to AT so I cant comment on how these dishes should be, but this seems so consistently bad that I wonder whether their regular chef was behind the stove... not too many cooks in Venice even try stuff this fancy.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jen kalb
        erica Jul 13, 2007 06:36 AM

        Those dishes sound so unlike the ones that we ate at AT...I remember simple, unadorned fish and shellfish...more like the turbot you described. Sounds very dispiriting. Did you mention this at all to the staff? I have to admit that I am surprised at the price you paid for dinner for two..it sounds lower than what I remember paying for a much smaller meal....

        1. re: erica
          t
          torta basilica Jul 13, 2007 07:38 AM

          There was the choice of several different fish plain roasted in olive oil - we obviously should have chosen one of those. However, last visit, husband had monkfish in a light sauce he loved (he loves good sauces - these definitely weren't this trip!) & was hoping the swordfish would be equally good. No, we didn't - I have a paranoia about the ugly American thing - although the spaghetti vongole issue definitely could not have been denied - they knew we were unhappy & no one asked how things were ever.

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