What is it about Italian food that no matter how bad it is, people still go out of their way to eat it, sing its praises, then go back for more mediocrity.
Case in point: One night, two dinners.
The first so bad we took three bites and asked for the check.
Stale bread, pink, mealy tomatoes, clam-challenged linguine with clams, beef braciole that tasted stale and like it was made with canned sauce; it was all there for the taking at Gina’s Bistro and the joint was busy on a Tuesday night.
And it wasn’t that cheap either. $87 pour deux with a single glass of 80 degree red wine.
So we asked for the food to go (and go it went…right into our trash can), and drove over to Cafe Chloe for our second attempt at an Italian dinner…
The last time ELV had been to this popular spot had been the night of September 10, 2001. We remember the date for obvious reasons, and for the fact that nine years later we’re still trying to get the smell of garlic out of our clothes.
Things weren’t as garlicky this time around, the con vongole was plenty clammy, and the bread was warm, slightly toasty, fresh and goood. The Caesar salad, however, was a nice, tossed plate of romaine with some parm sprinkled on top, and was as close to a real Caesar as ELV is to the British monarchy. Our chicken Marsala came loaded with properly cooked (if a bit in-artfully sliced) chicken pieces, atop a thin pool of barely-there Marsala reduction. The whole dish looking like it was created as an afterthought.
Still, the meal was miles better than Gina’s, and actually four dollars cheaper.
Still further, ELV remains puzzled by this type of food. It is strongly flavored, unchallenging, familiar, yet barely a step above what any average home cook could throw together.
Maybe that’s the appeal: Slightly better than homemade and no dishes get dirty.
Or maybe the American dining out public has no taste. And if you’re going to eat bad restaurant food, bad Italian food is probably the best there is.
4226 South Durango Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89147-8721
4155 South Buffalo Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89147