Monday, August 23, 2004
Saturday Dinner Vincenzo's on The Bay
I took Joanne to Vincenzo's on The Bay for a belated birthday dinner. Vincenzo's on the Bay is a quaint Italian restaurant on the backwaters of the Estero Bay. I called ahead to reserve a table so we could have a view of the Estero Bay. I told the hostess that it was a special occasion and wanted a view. Of course she explained that even though you have a reservation, the window tables are on a first come first serve basis.
Upon our arrival we were greeted by the hostess. I reminded her of my reservation and request for a window table. Katie lead us into the main dinner room with a wonderful view of the Estero Bay. She lead us to a table in the middle of the room. I once again asked if we could have a window seat (I could see 2 empty tables). She explained that there were none available. I pointed to a table for 6 and asked about that one. No, she explained, that was for large parties and it was Saturday night. Then I point to the table for 4 and asked about that one. Oh certainly I didn't see it, was her reply! We got our window seat at alast. Perhaps a tip would have helped?
As we were seated the waiter came with a grater in hand and asked if we would like some grated cheese. I said I have nothing to put it one and he proceeded to grate the cheese onto our bread plates ? What is up with that? I asked for a House Chardonnay for Joanne and a Kettel One one the rocks for me. While I looked at the wine list. The waiter explained that the Chief had a nice House Chardonnay for $20 a bottle. Since I am sketchily of those kind of offers I asked for a taste of the wine. He brought my Kettel One and a "flight" glass of the Chardonnay for Joanne to taste...well it was a good thing we tasted because it was very pale in color and biting to the taste with hints of a poor quality Chardonnay. I requested a glass of Kendall Jackson for Joanne. The surprising thing was when the bill was presented there was a $.50 charge for tasting! I ordered the Brochette as an appetizer and continued to peruse the wine list.
The waiter brought our Brochette and we ordered our courses... Grill Chicken over Spinach Linguine with red sauce for Joanne and Crab Ravioli in a Saffron Cream Sauce for me. I ordered a bottle of Chanti for the wine list and requested that it not be served until the main course was presented. The Brochette has a nice balsamic vinegar reduction drizzled in on the plate. It went very well with the field greens on the plate but as you picked up the brochette it was all over your hands and then your napkin then every where! I'd leave off the drizzled decoration.
As we ate our appetize the waiter appeared with red wine glasses and the bottle of wine I had asked to be served with the main course... Oh well I guess it can breath a little. I tasted the Chanti and it was a very nice selection (#401 on the wine list) for $28. Just $8 more than the swill house chardonnay and worth the money!
Since I like water and bread with the dinner and noe was presented by our waiter as the busgirl cleared the appetizer, I asked for water. As the main course was served I asked for bread.
Joanne's Chicken over Linguine became the topic of our discussion as Joanne said it tasted odd... not bad just odd. I took a taste and determined the chicken had ben marinated in lemon juice then when it was tossed with the tomato sauce the acids clashed. Each would have been excellent alone but together ugh!
My ravioli was excellent and that evidence of saffron was seen on the sauce a some of the threats had not dissolved. It was time for bread and I asked a second time for bread. The bread present was warm but uncooked in the center or at least very doughy but then some people like it that way.
I felt that it the waiter and bus staff were in a hurry for us to finish dinner and "turn" the table. Since I like to enjoy my meal I was sign for us to eat slow and enjoy, which we did. We watched the storm come up the bay (see pic below). There were plenty of empty tables since it is not season so we felt comfortable with a relaxed dinner inspite of the hurry.
The General Manager Sean O'Kourke stopped at our table to say hi and ask about our meal. Joanne explained her surprise at the odd flavor of the chicken. He was surprised since it is a very popular dish. I suggested that the Chief not use to acids together dishes together he was taken aback.
We ordered coffee and a cannoli. Both were excellent.
As we left the resurant we were pointed to the owner "Eddie" and told to explain our tasting of the chicken dish. Joanne again explained her surprise at the flavors in the chicken dish and I suggested that the lemon used on the chicken was to overpowering. "Eddie" was gracious to invited us to come back to sample some of his creations.
All in all it was a very nice night out with a great view of the storm. Next time I want to try the gnochi with a gorgonzala sauce and soup. I just hope I can great some bread with the soup
I never did find out why the waiter grated the cheese on the bread plate. Other parties when seated were not given cheese. Just one of those mysteries!