Monday, November 16, 2009

Casa Rustica

Last night, I was tasked with taking the candidate who interviewed today out to dinner. All of the places I would have liked to have gone – Vidalia, Crave, Storie Street Grill – were closed on Sunday night. We had a budget in a certain range that ruled out some other possibilities. Ultimately, given financial, time and geographical constraints, we narrowed our options down to two: Pssghettis and Casa Rustica. I’ve been to both restaurants before – Pssghettis twice and Casa Rustica at least three times, but two of those were a women’s club luncheon and a departmental dinner, not necessarily the best time to gauge the overall rating of the restaurant . Another time, we took the boys out to dinner there to celebrate good report cards and I wanted a place with a grown-up atmosphere but a relatively kid-friendly menu. I had misgivings about Pssghettis – it had some recent, not-so-great reviews on Trip Advisor (not that I consider Trip Advisor a top source for restaurant reviews, but it inevitably pops up when you Google a restaurant). And the last time we ate there, we suspect B got food poisoning from a big meatball that was not cooked properly. Plus Casa Rustica had better reviews on Trip Advisor, so Casa Rustica it was…

The restaurant has nice ambience and good service. B’s guitar teacher plays classical guitar there on Sunday nights. The music was lovely. I wish I had more enthusiastic comments about the food. Having had the Julia Child dinner the night before, I wanted to go a little light, so I ordered the French onion soup and an appetizer portion of salmon croquettes. The waitress warned that the soup was a little salty, but I love salt more than most people and tend to liberally salt my food so I wasn’t worried (DH questions why an Italian restaurant was serving French soup and I concede I may not have ordered as wisely as I could have). When the soup came, it looked a little odd. The bowl was only about two-thirds full, and half of that was the bread. And it was unbelievably salty. Like salt water with a beef bullion cube and some onions. It was not just mediocre (my expectation), it was Bad. The salmon croquettes -- one of the night’s specials – were a bit better. They were served over a nice bed of greens with a bit of aioli (more would have been better). They weren’t fabulous, just okay. Our guest clearly wanted to order dessert but did not want to eat dessert alone, so I ordered the Tiramisu. I’ve made the Tiramisu recipe from New Basics several times, although it has been a while. My recollection is lady fingers with espresso, marscapone cheese, eggs, and a dusting of dark chocolate (I just did a quick Google check and that is the basic recipe). Casa Rustica’s has the lady fingers, but no discernable coffee flavor and a layer of fudge on the bottom. It wasn’t bad, but it I don’t think it should be called Tiramisu either. I bought about two-thirds of it home and B scarfed it.

My women’s club is once again having their Holiday luncheon there next month, and I’m going to go. One, because in a weak moment, I agreed to be the treasurer, and someone has to collect the cash. And two, it will be a fun time. But I am not looking forward to the food. Pout.

Casa Rustica Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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