Spoleto (Restaurant Week '09) - Northampton
Not as bad as we thought, but not great either.
I've lived in Northampton for almost a year now and had not yet been to Spoleto. Every review I've read has compared it to an overpriced, not-worth-it Olive Garden (which I'm not a fan of). My SO and I were going to try Bistro Les Gras last night until we realized that they aren't open on Monday's...
We have eaten at all of the other restaurants offering special prix fixe menus, so we thought we'd give Spoleto a shot. We actually ordered off of their regular 3-course $20 menu instead -- there was more variety.
Apps: Angel hair crab cake with chipotle pepper mayo. This wasn't bad, per se, but you couldn't get much of a crab flavor. The chipotle pepper sauce was a nice accompaniment, though. Smallish portion. SO ordered the grilled calamari with cherry peppers. The calamari was cooked well, but the dish was so hot (flavor-wise) that he had a hard time tasting much of anything besides peppers.
Mains: I ordered the pecan-crusted salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and mesclun greens. The fish was cooked perfectly (a pleasant surprise!), but I didn't enjoy the flavor of the pecan with such a fatty fish. Everything else on the plate was fine. I didn't think the potatoes/greens were anything special, but there was a decent balsamic reduction with my fish that I enjoyed. Large portion, which was nice.
My SO ordered the pork medallion forestiere with spinach, garlic mashed potatoes, and a wild mushroom cream sauce. I didn't care for the flavor of his dish, but he thought it was decent. The spinach was actually the star of this plate, and surprisingly we don't think anything was done to it. It was nice fresh spinach that was left alone to wilt under the heat of the pork. Again, it was a pretty big portion.
Desserts: My creme brulee was tasty (nothing outstanding, though), but my biggest disappointment was the portion. The ramican wasn't big to begin with, but the custard itself was uneven. This might be nitpicky of me, but one side of creme brulee was about halfway up the ramican while the rest barely covered the bottom of the dish. Flavor was decent. We also had the chocolate espresso torte. This was a tiny sliver of what tasted like chocolate fudge. It was rich and dense and, to me, too much. Not bad flavor, though.
We're not rushing to return to Spoleto, but we did think that $20 was a good deal for the amount of food you receive.
Sounds like average Spoleto experience. Food is passible but never impressive. My main complaint in the past has been really bad service. Even for N'ton.
Used to love it; returned recently after several years and was hugely disappointed in the quality of the ingredients. Overly chewy/rubbery mozzarella; too-sweet balsamic dressing; tinny-tasting artichoke hearts and a key lime tart that looked and tasted like a discount warehouse product.