Review: Macchialina

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It has been a while since I last checked out Macchialina.  After recently tasting Michael Pirolo’s alliterative, and quite tasty, paninis, I realized it was time for a repeat visit. Armed with high expectations and three hungry friends with discerning palates, the overwhelming consensus was ultimately “meh”.  While some dishes contained substantial flaws rendering them inedible, others were so addictive we (literally) licked the plates clean with our fingers. The dimly-lit restaurant was rustic and cozy.  The cute, small plates make it perfect for dining with a group or date night.  The noise level, however, defied the sound barrier.  The four of us sat relatively on top of each other, and still had to scream to hear anything. We ultimately gave up trying to have a conversation and instead, shot death stares to the large, boisterous group commandeering the restaurant’s allotted decibel levels.

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After yelling our order to our waiter, who, by the way, seemed so preoccupied with his other tables that we felt like we were inconveniencing him by asking for anything, we started with the grilled country bread with fontina fonduta and  the eggplant parm (“Tortino di Melanzane”). The rustic bread glistened from a thin olive oil glaze and was the perfect vehicle to dip into the creamy, melted fontina.  The salty, gooey, cheese, served in a small ramekin, had a hint of white wine and was delicious.  My only complaint was that it came with two slices of bread, and we had four people. The waiter should have brought us enough bread for the table. After requesting more, we waited eagerly, staring longingly at the now slightly congealed cheese. I felt like Oliver Twist, “please sir, can I have some more?”.  By the time we got the bread, the cheese was cold.  We later found out he charged us extra for two more slices of bread. Cool, thanks guy.

Tortino di Melanzane

Tortino di Melanzane

The eggplant, while wrapped up like a petite little package, was cold from the get-go, and we sent it back after taking one bite. The creamy polenta with sausage ragu and cipollini {not pictured} was rich and delicious, but tasted more like a Mornay sauce, lacking any real texture. So far, I was disappointed with the appetizers and craved an actual bite of food.

Trentino pizza

Trentino pizza

The pizza menu comes with a warning “TOUCH MY SLICE AND SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES”.  Listen to the menu, people.  The pizza rocked. We ordered the Trentino with potatoes, preserved truffle, taleggio, and poached egg, and the Diavolo with spicy cherry tomato, capicola, shaved parmigiana, and arugula.  Both pizzas were fought over, not only because they were so delicious, but because we were all starving at this point.  I took it upon myself to serve the Trentino slices and caught some slack for choosing the eggiest piece.  Far be it from me to give up the slice with the greatest amount of yellow yolk oozing atop the bubbling cheese. Sorry friends, got to move quicker. The Diavolo had a tiny kick, nicely balanced by the milky parm and bitter arugula.  The thin, crisp, charred dough was fantastic.  The pizzas were the best dishes we ate all night.

Ricotta di Bufala Raviolini

Ricotta di Bufala Raviolini

pasta

Tagliolini ai Funghi

We weren’t so lucky, however, with the pasta. We shared the Ricotta di Bufala Raviolini with confit tomato, basil, and ricotta salata and Tagliolini ai Funghi with abalone mushrooms and parmigiano. Neither were great, but the Raviolini were almost inedible due to an overpowering anchovy flavor. I’m talking kick you in the mouth, kill your tastebuds kind of flavor. It wasn’t appetizing, to say the least. Nobody wanted to eat this dish, and the sad little Raviolini sat, unfinished, on the plate. The Tagliolini was a beautiful yellow color and had an extreme umami taste due to the potent mushrooms. I love earthy, rich mushroomy dishes, but this one was a bit too strong for me. The al dente pasta was cooked nicely, but I wouldn’t order this dish again.  I would have briefed the waiter on why the pasta plates were left uneaten, but I didn’t feel like screaming, and he clearly didn’t feel like listening.

The desserts {not pictured} were a hit. The banana bread pudding with dark chocolate ganache, saletd caramel and whipped ricotta was destroyed in embarassingly little time. The bread pudding, served piping hot, was super decadent and had both sweet and salty elements that left us craving more.  The cannoli were very traditional and a great way to end an otherwise mediocre meal.  I really, really wanted to love Macchialina.  The restaurant itself was warm and inviting, the menu was approachable and drool-worthy, and I loved the concept of small plates of traditionally heavy dishes.   However, Macchialina didn’t live up to the hype.  The dining experience was stressful, service was shotty, and the food failed in execution.  Unless these essential elements are fixed, I likely won’t go back anytime soon.

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One response to “Review: Macchialina

  1. When I went, I just had a garlicky country bread which was phenomenal. The pizzas were gloppy. The lasagna, while tasty, was a bit mushy. The Italiano cocktail was a hit. The bread pudding was excellent, but came out too hot. We had to wait a few minutes before being able to eat it. I was thinking about giving it another shot until I saw your review that confirmed my first experience.

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