Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Al Crostino

So I've decided to put some of my thoughts on restaurants in the D.C. area and some of the books that I've read recently. These are two of my passions so I thought it would be fun to share my thoughts.

Last Friday night the girlfriend and I went to Al Crostino with her newly engaged former classmate and fiance. U Street is an area where we go quite frequently owing to the fact that a lot of our friends live in the area. We had walked past Al Crostino and its next door neighbor Creme several times but had never been in.

When we walked in I noticed immediately that it is a very small space (maybe 25 tables) with three distinct areas. The bar is 8-10 seats and when the girl and I sat down to order a drink (our dinnermates had to go stand somewhere else to make room) the bartender didn't seem to have time for us. The girl requested the house red (something most Italian restaurants have) but the bartender looked at her like she had 3 heads. No sooner had we gotten our glasses of wine then hostess said she needed the two seats so people could eat. So where the hell should we stand and why are you kicking people out of bar seats? Doesn't really make your restaurant that hospitable.

The main courses were okay. I ate the beef carpaccio which was underseasoned and over oily. I've had the dish many times before and there was almost no flavor to this except a lot of olive oil. I think that the cheese should have been sharper and much less oil.

The girl had a sauteed squid salad that looked excellent. If I wasn't such a gentleman I would have ordered before her and ordered that but alas chilvary is not dead.

For the entree I ordered the ostrich special. I have never had ostrich before so I can't compare it a previous dish. It was simply prepared (grilled) but had a very nice kick. (Not sure if thats natural or built in). Not overwhelming or underwhelming but a nice dish.

As I was starting this post the girl wanted me to mention that the service was unusual. The server was attentive but there was a comfort level that only he was aware of. He was definitely friendlier with the women than the men, which is typical of older Italian men, but it seemed that he was more involved in other tables upstairs, especially the group of 4 gay men at the table next to us. Probably not his fault as the head of the table asked a question about each menu item.

Overall a decent meal but we've had better at that prices -- $110 for two, appetizers and entrees, two glasses of wine, no dessert, and tip. The space was underwhelming, the services was on the rude signed and the food just kind of was plus the menu was limited in its options. A nice night for the four of us but the meal and the experience was not anything special. I wouldn't seek Al Crostino out again, but if someone wanted to meet for a glass of wine and an appetizer I would do that.

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