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Al di La let me down big time!

My boyfriend and I spent at least 45 minutes trying to decide whether to eat at Al Di La or AOC and were ultimately lured to Al Di La by memories of the beet ravioli with butter sauce. We ordered the ravioli, the pork scallopini and the steak. The ravioli was good, the scallopni was fine and the steak was an insult to my taste buds. At first bite, it was immediately apparent that the steak and an arugula salad were drenched in Balsamic reduction. The arugula was sopping wet with Balsamic reduction, making it totally inedible. Each time I took a bite of steak I had to scape off as much sauce as possible or experience the punguent, acidic burn of balsamic sauce. I mentioned this to the waiter who informed me that that's the way they do it. I told him that i didn't believed that they would intentionally drench arugula in balsamic reduction until it was totally wilted and mushy(who's that stupid?), but he insisted that they meant to make it that way. He didn't even offer to get me another plate of arugula (which would have cost them 50 cent tops). I had to ask him to bring me another plate and replated the food at the table. No Joke, the balsamic reduction was at least inch thick all over the plate. It looked like a soup.

It'll take a lot to get me back to Al di La. The service sucks and they're putting people in charge of cooking who don't know what they're doing or don't give damn.

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  1. Maybe its me. I like the balsamic reduction wilting the arugula. I get the steak well done, and the acid combined with the wilted tingle of the arugula makes a nice foil for the crisp edged carbonized steak tips.

    If you are horrified at the prospect of my enjoyment of this dish EXACTLY the way you described it, then I think you must adjust. No one is being stupid. We like it that way. The softening of the greens with the acid is delicious.

    1. "At first bite, it was immediately apparent that the steak and an arugula salad were drenched in Balsamic reduction. The arugula was sopping wet with Balsamic reduction, making it totally inedible."

      From Al Di La's menu - "Hanger Steak "Tagliata" with Arugula sliced hanger steak deglazed in balsamic vinegar."

      Since the menu specifically mentions balsamic vinegar I'm not sure as to the source of your surprise when the steak arrived with a vinegar sauce. If there was any doubt about the nature of the dish a question to the waiter would have resolved it.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Bob Martinez

        Not sure that you all are reading the details of the op: "No Joke, the balsamic reduction was at least inch thick all over the plate. It looked like a soup".

        As you know, I think al di la is one of the best in Bklyn. But, if that's the way it was served to her, it was not done properly. I've had the dish and have seen it served many times -- the poster's description of what was received is not consistant with either the menu's description or the way it's usually served. I would have gone to the manager if the waiter gave me that answer.

        1. re: Steve R

          I'd still go back if it was me, and just not get the steak, simple as that. Everything else is too good to write it off completely.

          1. re: ginsbera

            Well, me too, especially since I love the place and forgive a couple of mistakes. But I can also see how an experience like that can make a person write off a place.

            1. re: Steve R

              Well I guess I am crazy. My wife thinks so. I have been getting it there for so long, and it has never changed, and I have grown to love it. I think it might be because they use really good balsamic, and really great meat.

              1. re: NYJewboy

                I went to al di la last night and had the steak. It was deglazed with the balsamic, but definitely not drowning in it. Delicious, as always. However, I have to agree with the poster that the problem was at least as much with how the server dealt with his reaction than as with the dish. If he didn't like it, even if prepared correctly, he should have been offered an alternative entree, not attitude.

                1. re: kabny

                  And I bet it would be much the same on any given night!

                  1. re: NYJewboy

                    let's imagine for a second this is the way the chef, who is co-owner with her husband, intends to make this dish. accepting this premise we should acknowledge it is probably a matter of a customer not liking something she ordered.

      2. All antagonism and grandstanding aside (mostly on my part), I ate there last night and ordered the steak. I thought about this issue while I ate. I think it is just a matter of taste. Yes, the was a great deal of wonderful balsamic reduction sauce all over. But the effect it had on the greens and the meat was, to me, magical. The acid turns the meat into an altogether different substance, brings out textures and subtle tones that seem wonderous. Sure, some greens wilted towards the end. But they too gave their lives in service of the overall sweet slightly acidic effect which one either loves or does not. I still maintain that this is a purposeful and masterfully prepared dish.

        1 Reply
        1. re: NYJewboy

          all from the man who orders his steak well done !!

          just kiddin nyjewboy, i always respect and follow your recc.'s

          hehe

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