It was a hot sweltering day. For Mother's Day we took Rossana to ‘The Old Spaghetti House’ at Market! Market!. We wanted to be off the beaten track, and since Rossana loves pasta, this place suited our purposes. The drive was short, even in the heat, and it was pleasant because we were looking forward to a good meal. Fast food and junk begone!
Walking into the restaurant, we had a hint of nostalgia from our childhood days, but this restaurant was just short of that. It had the decor, it had the food, but something was missing. I was afraid that we might luck out on this one.
The menu is as varied as ever. But the pretentious foodies who expect this to be an Italian pasta joint need not apply. It’s straightforward pasta, pizza, rice meals (OMG, that is so tacky to put it in there), sandwiches and desserts. They have a section for International Pizzas. More like fusion. More like East meets west. Pizza in itself is international.
As we sat down, me gorging on bottomless Ice Tea to quench my thirst and hide from the summer heat, we perused the menu after having waited a noticeable minute for the waiter to notice us as we walked in. It was mid-afternoon, and the restaurant was occupied by only two other people. Slow for them, quiet and pleasant for us. After making our selections, the waiter took the menus, and we were left to look around. Maxine busied herself by vandalizing the paper placemats.
First to come was the Pepperoni and cheese pizza. Thin crust, on a wooden chopping board. Topped with cheese and sliced sausage. The crust was crisp, despite the lack of ‘toastiness’ around the edges. The cheese was less than stringy, but was adequate in taste, complementing the sliced sausages. I would like to say pepperoni, but that was not pepperoni. Somebody must have switched the meat along the line. It was a good pizza though, better than what other restaurants are touting as pan pizzas or ‘chef quality’ pizzas.
The spaghetti carbonara and pasta negra came next, delivered in deep bowls. With toasted garlic bread. Even though the bread was not toasted properly (seems to be a recurring theme where dough is concerned) it was enough to sop up the sauce. The carbonara did lack the richness of the egg yolk. Bacon taste was a scale of 4 out of ten. What did they use? Canadian bacon? Bacon in a can? Pasta all around was ideally al dente, no doubt about that. The pasta negra, turned out to be as good as the authentic teeth staining kind, but lacked spice. Though the pastas were warm, I would have liked it to be hot enough that steam was wafting from the bowl when it was served. In this case, the dish got cold before we were halfway through the meal. The bowls being ice-cold probably helped.
The remaining dish were the lasagnas for Maxine and Alie. Rich, steamy. Melts in your mouth. But it think it was a matter of convenience that they were simply nuked in the microwave rather than baked before serving. The lack of tomato and cheese spatters on the bowl indicated that it was cold to the touch as well, so the inherent heat came from within. Notice the lack of golden brown on the bread? Probably they did not have an oven to begin with. Hmmm.
The day ended with Rossana enjoying a small glass of Sugar-free chocolate mousse. Even though Maxine begged to have one, Rossana was encouraged to be selfish.
Overall we had a good time. The Old Spaghetti House is close enough to be an institution, but it will, as for the past years, not be foremost in my mind. The attention of the wait staff seems to indicate that they are just there to serve the food. The lack of attentiveness made us order what we wanted, not only to be safe, but also we did not know how the other items fare. During downtime, ironically, the wait staff were discussing their salaries unmindful of the guests that could here.
The food overall, could have been better. The appropriate heat from cooking the food would have been welcome, even though it was hot outside. Bread not toasted. Pasta lacking stem. Plates that are cold to the touch. Somebody must not have paid their gas bill. The drinks were cold, and no effort there. Maxine, even though a six year old, filled out the survey form, giving an overall rating of 3 out of 5. I asked ‘What was wrong, honey?” And she said “the food was cold.”
Despite the lack of attention to detail, we did enjoy ourselves. Because it was an afternoon that we were together. The minuses did not bother us that much. But it would have been a great experience if the food was up to par as what the ‘Old Spaghetti House’ has been known for. At least during my growing-up years.
Feel free to leave a violent reaction. Because I, as well as other readers, would like to know if this is just a one-time thing.