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Jul 26, 2008 12:55 PM

Mezzaluna - Hendersonville, NC

Curious if anyone has been yet? It's only been open about 2 or 3 weeks I think.

Six of us went last night and it was a bit hit and miss. Of the six of us, four got pasta dishes, one got the chicken entree and my husband got a pizza. Three of the pasta dishes were the same (linguine w/asparagus, pinenuts, and panceta in a cream sauce - $12) and I got the linguine with mussels dish ($10). Mine was very good. The others thought their pasta dishes were good, but the amount of cream sauce varied quite a bit among the three servings. Pasta servings were not huge, but appropriate for the price. One of our friends got the chicken entree (wood oven roasted chicken - $12) and it was dry (verified by another in our party who tasted it). Her calamari appetizer though was very good ($7). My husband's pepperoni/sausage/pancenta pizza ($16) was burned - a little overall on the bottom and pretty badly on one slice. It is a thicker crust than West 1st and although it had good flavor, West 1st beats it handily.

We didn't get bread until we asked for it (nearly done with entrees). The server said he didn't "bother to bring it out" because the entrees came out so fast. ???! When he did get it for us, the tops were badly burned. He shrugged and said, "it's an 800 degree oven [they use the wood fired pizza oven to bake the rolls], so sometimes the tops get burned but the rest is fine." again.. ???!?! You don't bring burned rolls to a table. He did bring us some more later that were better, but of course, by then, we were done eating (we took them home).

The server mixed up my husband's beer with another in our party (drafts), but did exchange my husband's for the right one (our friend just kept his even though it wasn't what he ordered).

The server didn't ask if we wanted dessert, we had to ask him. They had only two choices - Spumoni (sp?) and Tiramisu. We declined.

When the bills came (split into three couples), ours and one other couple's were wrong, but we just traded a few dollars rather than have him redo it. And he didn't put any pens in with the bills for signing the credit card slips.

The space is nice and the prices are good, so I am hopeful that some things will be sorted out over time. Especially the burning issues. It seems they don't quite have a handle on how to cook consistently in the wood oven yet. The service was not great, but it could've just been who we got. He was nice enough, but...

Has anyone else been?

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  1. Ate there a week or so ago and ...well.... they have lots of beers.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Spreadhead

      Ya, if you get the one you actually ordered. LOL

    2. Hate to doom them from the get-go, but if they don't get it together soon and carve out some sort of niche for something other than pizza/pasta, West First (serving basically the same fare one block down) will bury them...literally.

      Which begs the question: Why do so many restaurantuers think Hendersonville needs and can support so many Italian-themed places?

      9 Replies
      1. re: Jeff C.

        Who knows. I guess each owner thinks they can do it better. ?

        I agree that Mezzaluna is essentially the same theme as West First and West First WILL kick their butt clear out of the county if things don't change. West First got it right immediately and continues to do it right. I predict Mona Lisa and that one on Washington will be gone in a year or so. I like Mona Lisa ok, but it's just not strong enough to survive being that far off Main. We enjoyed La Riserva (others have had different experiences), but they are too pricey to be a frequent choice for us.

        What worried me about Mezzaluna before we even went there is that they are supposed to be run (owned?) by the same folks as Black Rose and we didn't care for them. The couple of times we tried Black Rose, it was very average food and service. So if you do something average, you open up another restaurant???

        West First remains our favorite (non-high end) restaurant in Hendersonville. By a ton.

        1. re: Scirocco

          Well- when my husband said on Saturday...let's drive by that wood fired pizza place that's been about to open for the last YEAR, I said nope, must not be open yet, I haven't read about it on CH yet.

          So...apparently we all tried it for the first time quite recently. My pizza was OK. The crust was bread-y and pale (maybe the oven hasn't made it up to 800 degrees at lunchtime) and the sauce was a little bland. There was lots of fresh mozzerella, also slightly bland. Props for the huge basil leaves, though. Nothing really WRONG w/ the just tasted like bread and tomatoes...two things I really like...but still.

          I liked the little ciabatta rolls that came without my asking ;-) I thought the wine list was pretty weak and the wine glasses were cheap. They could have spent some of that interior cash on glassware.

          My husband had spaghetti and meatballs and it wasn't bad. He thought the sauce had a little too much olive oil. The meatballs were surprisingly good.

          So...I don't hate the place, but as long as West First was open (which it wasn't...they close at 2 for lunch on Sat) I would always go there. Given the lines I've seen at WF at night, though...they might do a reasonable business just on overflow.

          Speaking of "the pizza boys", I wish they would get a second location for the bakery! I hate how long I have to stand in line in the morning just to get a coffee and scones.

          1. re: danna

            Worth the wait, though, you've gotta admit...

            Speaking of Flat Rock Village Bakery, have you tried the new Hubba Hubba Smokehouse right next door? It's only open for lunch, but it's a not-too-shabby ten dollar BBQ lunch place--good sides, too. Certainly better than Green River in Saluda or anything else out this way. My Gold Standard que shack is still the Ridgewood Restaurant in Bluff City, TN, and I have yet to try 12 Bones in Asheville, but this is cheap and right around the corner. (Plus, it makes the 'hood smell good!)

            1. re: Jeff C.

              no, dammit, but I did park there at 3:10 on Saturday, only to find out they closed at 3:00. It did indeed smell good, but although we stood rather obviously in front of the window while we read over the menu and drooled, no one offered to sell us any leftovers.

              Then we went to the FRV bakery, and they had a line out the door. That's how we wound up at Mezzaluna.

              1. re: danna

                My impression is that they only prepare limited quantities of food each day, so I would suggest getting there at around one for the best selection of sides, cornbread, etc. It makes for a heavy lunch, though, so you might want to have a salad for dinner or do a few extra miles on the bike or both. FYI: the pulled pork is better than serviceable and the "vinegar slaw" is cool and fresh with a hint of cilantro.

                1. re: Jeff C.

                  Same owner as Black Rose. I've heard it's decent, but nothing to write home about. Real Italian in Hendersonville? Are you serious?

          2. re: Scirocco

            Is there somewhere online I can look at the West First menu? I've looked, but I can't find anything.

            1. re: stephw1

              No website currently, but the menu is posted near the entrance if you want to go by and have a look. For the record, the serve the best thin crust pizza and pasta I've had anywhere.

              1. re: stephw1

                Am attempting to attach two pics of WF's menu. It is an old copy, so not sure how much has changed. We go a lot and I'd say most of these things are still on their current menu. I opened the menu flat and the first pic is the top half (both pages) and the second pic is the bottom half (both pages). Hope it's readable (looked good in iphoto!).

          3. Not much to add, everyone pretty much summed it up correctly as being "ehhh....okay, I guess."

            Thought I'd point out that I'm convinced our waitress was stoned on Saturday. Several long, uncomfortable, moments where she just stared at us.

            And the stuffed/roasted banana peppers that sounds very promising? Yuck.

            1 Reply
            1. re: timlau

              A friend of mine said the exact same thing about their server at Black Rose not long ago. Since they are run by the same people, I wonder if it was the same girl?! My friend was absolutely sure the girl was stoned (or at least "altered" in some way...). Maybe that's the state of mind you need to make the food seem more interesting.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Ciao Hounds~ Well, I went tonight with my GF and her family for a birthday party...We arrived at 5:30 and they were doing a brisk business - I liked the interior and was impressed to see the chefs tossing dough. While we thought the food was good there were a few things that left us perplexed. In chronological order they were:

                The MANY typos on the menu...tagliatelle spelled taGGliatelle...and sadly I cannot remember the others at this moment but there were SEVERAL misspelled items on the menu and one absolutely incomprehensible appetizer something like "oyster flavored sauce crust"

                The beer list printed on a dirty piece of paper with an employee schedule or something on the other side...

                The lack of fresh ground pepper for our salads/entrees.

                Failure to bring any bread even though our party ordered a number of differing dishes (pizzas,salads,pastas - all good BTW) and almost all the other tables had some.

                But most of all the two oddest things was bringing us WRAPPED plastic forks for our birthday cake (even though they brought cute real - not paper - plates)

                And, as a previous poster mentioned...without asking our server brought us all separate checks...kind of....while we were 4 couples there were several 'cross over items' between us and on our check one of our salads was $3 - the other identical one $5...go figure)

                We were a pretty relaxed group not in a hurry and good thing too as it took 15 min or so for us to figure out what was going on...I considered calling her back to say - "I'm sorry, but we didn't request our bill to be split - please refigure onto one check thank you" but I was a guest and it seemed it would only delay the process.

                In all - I think they have potential and the food was not bad - But it doesn't seem they have anyone to oversee the details that separate a good restaurant from a great one.

                Just my 2 cents...

                1 Reply
                1. re: jbyoga

                  My husband and I ate lunch at Mezzaluna today, and being that the Apple Festival was taking place, it was very busy. The host seated us right away with menus, and we proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait some more. A party of seven came in about ten minutes after us and had their drink orders taken immediately. My husband flagged down their waiter and asked if he could find our server, since no one had been to the table. He told us that our server hadn't "shown up yet" (and that was our problem why???) and he would check to see what was going on. Meanwhile the host, whose podium was located less than five feet away from our table, was oblivious to the fact that no one had taken our drink order, much less our lunch order. After he FINALLY checked on us (after about 30 minutes), he ended up taking our order himself, all the while calling us "guys", something I find to be very unprofessional. (He called everyone with whom he came into contact "guys." "Hey, guys. Right this way, guys. Sorry about that, guys.") Another server from the other side of the restaurant (who was very friendly and professional, and apologetic for the delay) took care of us from that point. We ordered a pizza with sausage, pancetta, and mushrooms, and while the service in the beginning was horrendous, the pizza itself was really tasty, if a little underdone on the bottom. I still have to question why the host seated us at a table whose server was AWOL. I mean, there were at least two other tables that actually had servers working them. Also, shouldn't he have noticed after a few minutes that no one had approached our table? I was always told that a customer should be at least greeted within 90 seconds of being seated.

                  I should add that we came to town to see if West First was open, which, we found out, they aren't on Mondays. Bummer. Their mushroom pie sounds delicious. We'll have to go back on a Saturday for lunch the next time we get a chance.

                  All in all, our first experience at Mezzaluna was disappointing as far as the service, but fairly satisfying as far as the pizza. Maybe it was because of the Apple Festival, who knows, we'll have to try it again on a more "average" day.