L'Andana Bar Scene...
Made a trip to L'Andana in Burlington tonight. Same people behind Mistal, Sorrellina, and the cow place. HUGE place, probably 200 some seats, looks like a bit like a upscale chain place from the outside. The bar is pretty cozy for for such a big place and tucked away in a corner. Clean looking bar with a few lounge tables on the side. Short cocktail list, mostly Italian wines by the glass, nice choice of half bottles, etc. Menu is pretty simple, about 10 apps, 8 or 10 entrees, 4 pastas, and a few sides. Very pricey, but i guess it is looking to draw the Lexington/Burlington crowd with money to burn. I started with a Oregon Pinot Gris by the glass. Grilled octopus with potatoes and sopreseta was smokey, rich, and damn good. After the octo I had a glass of Dolcetta de Abruzzo and tried a half an order of the Maine crab torettlelini (I know, not exactly the best wine pairings but whatever). Crab pasta was outstanding, creamy sauce, almost all crab filling, chives, and cracked pepper. Really terrific. The bartender, Eric, was super friendly, made good suggestions about what to get and told me the place is pretty jamming on the weekends. I hope they don't suffer from being to pricey and dubbed a special occasion place (although the parking lot had a ton of range rovers, bmws, benzes, and the like) and is a welcome addition to a dining scene where cheesecake factory is the top of the lot.
I made my first trip this weekend as well. I was really unimpressed with the bar area. No windows, felt cramped, zero atmosphere. That, and the bartender took 15 minutes to produce my martini. I'm surprised that in a space SO large, the bar just feels like an afterthought they slapped on behind the kitchen. Luckily our table was ready early so we didn't have to spend a lot of time there. Our meal was fabulous. Tuna tartare AMAZING -best I've ever had, and I'll second the crabmeat tortellini. For main course, I had the scallops and DC had the veal chop. Scallops served over potato puree and topped with the crispiest, meatiest bacon I've ever seen - garnished with chives and a balsamic drizzle. Veal chop was huge, juicy and flavorful. Didn't really get the side dish of potato "gratinata" -- dry, crumbly, not really sure what it was supposed to be, but that could be just my unfamiliarity with this dish. Service was spotty. Our waiter, though incredibly nice, seemed harried and overwhelmed the entire time. Our wine glasses were empty for 3/4 of the entree course, which was disappointing. We wanted to order another glass each but never had the chance until the main course was nearly through. Dessert was lackluster -- I had the homemade donuts which really wowed upon first bite but ended up feeling heavy and dense, not light and fluffy like I envisioned. DC's apple walnut crostata was dry, a little bland and lacking in both apples and walnuts. We enjoyed our meal immensely overall but won't rush back given the service issues. Would probably rather eat at one of the sister restaurants downtown for the price.