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Il Pittore: SALT SALT SALT

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Oh lord. Lets just get it over with. I too am shocked at the good reviews here. It does however make me appreciate that I actually have a palate. Obviously some people have been cruel to by the gods.

Service; Seemed rushed. Took a little longer than I am comfortable with when waiting to be asked for drinks and a bread basket. I had this feeling we were just a "table" and not really customers. everything was very quick and brief and not very personal. I feel that when a dinner bill is going to run upwards of $200, I want a little more attention than I get at Wendy's.

Building; Very well done! I loved the old meets retro look, but not in a Jetsons way. Downstairs was I believe more for walk ins and had a nice bar area. It was pretty wide open and spacious. The second floor was a little smaller and intimate. The tables were VERY close together but there was so much conversation in the room that the people right next to you really weren't a bother. You're really packed in, but its still comfortable.

Dinner; Not really what I expected. Lets start with the dishes.

Pappardelle con Ragudi Cinghiale - pasta ribbons with wild boar. At the first byte I thought wow, this is good! After a second bite I realized this was reminiscent of something I've eaten before. After a few more bites it hit me - bee a roni, without the tomato sauce. All in all a good taste, but if an expensive dish at a nice restaurant reminds me of something thing that I ate out a of can for a dollar, then I we have problems Houston.

Gnocchi di Zucca - pumpkin gnocchi with mascarpone cheese and raisin. I had HUGE expectations for this when I was looking at the menu prior to our trip. They came out in "balls", about a dozen of them. It needs to mention that they also came out less than lukewarm. The texture was just not clicking with me. I feel gnocchi should either be thick and dense or "pillow-e". This seemed to be somewhere in between the two. It wasn't overly of the pumpkin flavor and just seemed to lack a positive identity to it. It wanted to be something but just could find the flavor to express itself. It was basically like sex with no happy ending.

Rombo Chiodato Cotto Sotto Olio. - Turbot with Fennel. Looks like this one also ran into a temperature issue. My second dish was also less than lukewarm. The quantity was almost laughable. I got 2 tiny fillets. I cant get ONE decent size fillet? It also seemed to have a rubberish coat to it as well. I almost had to cut it apart with a nice. As anyone knows, white fish should flake right off and be moist. This was very dry, VERY salty and not very warm. I think it was put under a warming light till the other food was ready.

Brasata D'Agnello. - braised red wine lamb. This seemed to be OK although also not very hot. The meat was moist, flavorful and fell right apart, in a good way. This was probably the best dish of the night although it personally didn't "jump" out at me as something so grand that I have never experienced before.

Dessert. Honestly, after the food I really had no reasonable expectations that the dessert would be any better than the previous dishes. Some of them looked good but at this point I was more than happy to cal lit a night.

I do realize that this is a VERY new restaurant and that they are still experiencing growing pains although I honestly don't see much improvement in the food. I really don't think I'll give this place another chance unless its a few years from now and somehow gets super rave reviews and a completely new menu.

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  1. Prior to dining there I had also read the reviews that suggested they over salted their foods. I purposely chose the dishes I did to avoid this (crudo, tuscan bread soup, cacio pepe pasta). I even asked the manager about it and he said it is a process when a new restaurant opening where the back of the house staff learns how to properly season the food. He implied it was a natural cycle, and that it would "correct" itself over time.

    1. Examine the bill carefully ( which I usually dont ! ). They charged me for a 90$ bottle of wine which we did not drink. No apologies - only stuff about how new they are etc etc.

      1. We just had dinner at Il Pittore on Friday night and enjoyed the meal. We don't typically like our food overly salted, and basically orderd "Salt's Greatest Hits" without being offended by the saltiness, so it seems that they have corrected that issue. The wines are still quite expensive, but as suggested by other posts for Il Pittore, it seems that the other higher-end places have pretty much caught up and a lower end glass priced in the $12-range now seems like the norm, and both glasses I ordered were generously poured. The bottled wines were fairly pricey, we ended up sticking with glasses because we didn't see a ton of value being had to buy a bottle within our price range.

        The highlights were very clear to me, and very good. We were a table for 4 and each got three courses (app, pasta, entree) with some overlap, and I thought there was one standout at each course. The potato crocchetta was the best appetizer we got (runaway consensus among the whole group), but also enjoyed the octopus and mushroom/fava bruschetta.

        Pastas were all quite nice, but I actually thought that the ziti was the winner in the pasta category. It was absolutely wonderful, simple as can be but just gorgeous. I was enjoying my pasta, the gramigna, quite a bit (also very simple flavors but good ones), but my fork kept creeping back to my S.O.'s plate to steal from her (luckily she's a fantastic woman and abides me). I didn't get to try the wild boar parpadelle, but it got excellent reviews as well.

        Entrees were also quite nice, but not the equal of the pastas in my opinion. The suckling pig was my favorite and delicious, but I also enjoyed the veal cheek (didn't get to try the scallops, but they looked good).

        It was not a cheap meal ($130 per couple including tax & tip with 1 glass of the least expensive wine each), but was quite enjoyable. And the space is beautiful... as it was as Noble. They changed the downstairs a bit (the old bar is still there,but patrons now sit at a bar on the opposite wall where that row of tables used to be), and I had only ever popped my head quickly upstairs as Noble so I can't say how much has changed there as my memory is foggy (usually thanks to Christian's heavy hand back in the good old days!).

        1. With the nicely done detailed reviews this thread has garnered I will just add some brief comments for last evenings dinner. I had not read about an over salting issue prior to our visit. One of the first tastes that I noticed was "salty", not to the point of being distasteful but it was obvious. We enjoyed the Arugula salad, the Mushroom and Fava Bean app(salty) and the Gnocchi dish was good, also salty. The Short Ribs were perfect to my taste. With a seating at 6:15 we expected to have time for dinner and travel to the Kimmel. At 7:30 the entrees upon request were delivered, time for one bite of the beef and packaged the rest for a cab ride. Seems a bit long a wait , but in the interest of relaxed, non rushed dinning we give them the benefit of the doubt. We thought the servers knowledgeable and exhibiting appropriate attention with reserved friendlyness. The venue is quite pleasant, nicely done. Most other diners were talking in conversational tones which did not put the hard surfaces to a volume test. Of course being a magnet for baffoonery the only loud four top table of men was directly across the room from us, next to two unfortunate women making an attempt to not let the frequent shouts and loud laugher ruin their dinner. In summary I would not avoid the place if it was suggested by friends however I would also not make any effort to revisit.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bacchus101

            Bacchus I know you are not a fan of Osteria. How would you compare your experience here with Osteria or other italian restaurants in the city?

            1. re: cwdonald

              Great question, looking at a few areas after only one visit to il Pattore and this could change for me with any subsequent visit, good or bad.

              On interior my order would be il Pattore, Nonna's "home dinning room feel" ,Osteria (one could get exiled to the back room with the atmosphere of a bus station) industrial Amis is my least favorite unless exiled to the back room at Osteria.

              On service Il Pattore, Nonna's, Amis, Osteria has too frequently been too much attitude and poor service.

              On food, this is the tough one because of my limited sampling and perhaps poor selections. At this point I would say Nonna's (excepting the no-bread issue) IlPattore, Amis and Osteria.