Saturday, February 02, 2008
Bruno Back on Italian Restaurant Express
Nagrant and I were going back and forth on Pat Bruno's revelatory visit to Vong's Thai Kitchen and its affordable Thai. Wonder what he thinks of Arun's? (/sarcasm).
It was fresh in my mind when I read Bruno's review of Cafe Bionda yesterday. Now, I like Bionda. It's competent Italian, with the occasional flash of brilliance (the best steak I had last year was at Bionda, with an amazing balsamic demi-glace that just clung to the meat). However, this was a lazy, glad-handing review
Bruno was in awe at the meatball salad.
"Putting together a meatball as big as a tennis ball with a romaine lettuce salad is not something you see every day, but it was one fine appetizer."
"Not something you see every day?" When was the last time Bruno visited an Alex Dana restaurant? Since I brought up Rosebud, could it have hurt Pat to have at least mentioned Bionda owner Joe Farina's long tenure with Dana as executive chef of the Rosebud properties? Or that Cafe Bionda's flagship location is on South State? This city has a wealth of history. I thought that mentioning Farina's pedigree would have put the review in a focused context, instead of cheeky proclamations of "Nanna's gravy." Overall, Bruno and I have similar ratings for Bionda; I just thought his review was lazy.
The more I read it at lunch, the more frustrated I became? Mike was hoping that Bruno's VTK review at least signaled a shift from the constant Italian he's been covering lately. And it still might: Bruno also reviewed Friendship Chinese, but got the review totally wrong.