Posted 02 February 2015 - 11:45 PM
If it walks like a duck and squawks like a duck...It's not necessarily a duck.
Dinner tonight at Cinghiale Enoteca. The simple, high-level statement:
Satisfying, good food, cooked with skill but sometimes felt like we were in a Seinfeld episode.
This place looks like a Maggianos. The service swerved between Maggianos and something better. The food has nothing in common with Maggianos. It was very good and moderately priced relative to the premium location on the water in the now well-developed and fashionable Harbor East.
We shared the Grilled Calamari with crispy carrots starter. Good though not sure the combination works ideally and the ringlets were maybe a bit overcooked as to be just a tad rubbery.
A special Pasta Fiagole was also quite good. Rich, satisfying on a cold night and, at the same time, a careful and more elegant interpretation of a normally more rustic soup.
Rohan Duck, Farro Verde, Sweet White Turnip, Swiss Chard and Mustard Sauce. Maybe a bit more rare than medium rare but an excellent presentation with a generous 7 or 8 slices of duck breast. Very nice flavor and seasoning.
Maccherone Chitarra, Cinghiale, Pecorino. Whatever this actually was (see service notes below) it was excellent with al dente noodles generously sauced.
Tiramisu Bonet. I'm not normally a tiramisu fan, almost never order it and so am admittedly ignorant to its variations and nuances. I did order it at the strong recommendation of our waiter and...It was great. But it was much more like a Spanish Flan or French Creme Brulee than any tiramisu I'd ever seen.
The service was the funny part. Annoying at times. Perplexing on occasion. Generally attentive and friendly. Three service notes.
First, we'd made a reservation for an early hour and, when we arrived, the huge Enoteca was empty. More tables are four tops than two tops but, as a couple, we were shown to a narrow two top. I asked if they were expecting to be busy and they laughed and said no as it was a very cold Monday. Yes, could have and should have asked if we could get a larger and more comfortable table and neglected to do that. But, with only one other party seated the entire time we were there, it just seemed dopey to not offer either couple a bigger table.
Second, the the initial attempt to sell wine or cocktails was annoying because three different servers asked, the first before our coats were even off.
Third, when my Chitarra with cinghiale and pecorino arrived, the server announced it as "macaroni with beef and parmesan." Huh? As the meat was ground and thoroughly browned and cooked, I wasn't sure and tasted no pecorino in the dish. The server explained this by saying first "well, yes, cinghiale is like beef" and then that "pecorino and parmesano are very similar and salt forward." This struck me as daffy since one protein is pork cheek and the other cow while one cheese is sheep's milk and the other cow's milk. Seeing my confusion, the server hurried off, returning with some parmesano (maybe Reggiano but not sure) asking if I'd like some "extra." I assented and, most important, really enjoyed the dish though never was sure what it exactly was.
Bottom line, I agree with the poster up thread who called this "fairly priced." It certainly isn't Fiola or even Stefanneli's Bibiana but wouldn't avoid it on future visits if convenient and the group wanted decent Italian.