The Tovsky Tribe

Chocolates, Cocktails, Friends, Babies...A Girl Should Never Have Just ONE!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Specchi-OH NO!!

Todd and I enjoyed our first night out down the shore all summer this past Saturday night. We had babysitting, reservations, a cab, all was well. We were able to get a reservation at the well known Specchio, in the Borgata. This was a restaurant we had been wanting to try for quite some time due to the fine Italian cuisine and the wine cellar.
Excited, we arrived 30 minutes early for our 8:30pm reservation and headed down the winding stairway to Ombra, the wine bar of Specchio. The scene was impressive and their wine list was expansive. I enjoyed a Zinfandel and Todd a Cabernet.
Just prior to our reservation time, we approached the Maitr'd to be seated. We took the time to notice the beautiful decor, the contemporary artwork, the jeweled rails. We were seated upstairs at a handsome table and presented with a wine book and our menus. Our wait staff introduced themselves and explained the dual service. So far all was well and the decor and initial service both got A's.
When we looked at the food menu there seemed to be a number of things we both wanted to try. Described as "The Very Best we have to Offer," Todd and I decided to have two tasting menu's allowing us to try a number of things on the menu, all of which would be the best. We were excited by the dual offering on each of the 5 courses.
The meal began with with a mushroom crepite (small crepe) and a lobster and crab cake. Both were decent, thought neither were bursting with flavor, and the crepite had a lot of cheese. Though I do love cheese, it was a bit overpowering.
The second course, the pasta course, presented us with a cheese ravioli and a gnocchi. Again, it was OK, the dominant flavors were butter and cheese, and though the pasta was homemade I was satisfied by the small amount served and was not left hungering for more. At this point, Todd and I felt that it was OK thus far, not quite the punch we were expecting but not so disappointing. However, we knew the best was still yet to come.
The third course, the fish course, was a scallop and arctic char. I ate the scallop first and did find it to be rather tasty and very well cooked. My first bite of the arctic char also happened to be my last. Not only did it lack any flavor at all, but it was completely over-cooked and so dry I reached immediately for my water. I looked at Todd, whose face said exactly what I was thinking, and with less than a bite taken from each we decided to send it back. We do not tend to send things back too often, but being served an inedible piece of fish during the "Best we have to Offer" Chef's Tasting is rather dissatisfying.
Apologetic, our waiter offered us a piece of rare blue fin tuna, which did sound delicious to both of us. However, ten minutes later our server returned only to say he had spoken too soon and there was, and I quote, "not enough tuna left to give it to us."
This pissed us off pretty good. We were paying for the highest ticket item on the menu and yet we were not worthy of the remaining tuna. Instead, we were given halibut, which was even less tasteful, more dry, and more overcooked than the arctic char. We did not think it was possible. We sent this back as well to the surprise of our server who said "this has never happened before, our cooks nail the fish every time!"
We decided to skip any additional attempts at fish and move on to the meat course. It is a shame we were a bit jaded at this point because the meat course was actually very, very good. Perfectly tender, filled with flavor, and we both wished we had ordered the lamb chop and the veal chop as our entrees.
Finally, we were given dessert. I have never actually said this before, but dessert was terrible. The ten layer chocolate cake was as dry as the fish, and the other dessert did not even make it to my memory.
We discussed our disappointment with the restaurant manager who tried to make it up to us with a reduced price. Though this did ease the pain a bit, our overall experience at Specchio was less than satisfying. Although we had a nice evening, we found that the Best that Specchio had to offer was lacking in flavor, tenderness and service. We will have no reason to return to this restaurant despite the very good lamb chops.


Ma Pierce said...

You should start a food critics column - meals worth paying a baby sitter for.

Wendy said...

Todd and I talk about it all the time, since we often give letter grades to our dining experiences. This is the first time I actually wrote about it. I like the twist.....worth paying a babysitter for. HA HA