I know that it’s difficult to judge the merits of a restaurant during Restaurant Week when the kitchens are overrun with orders (for the same three items) and the staff is strained. But dinner at Mia Dona last week failed to meet even my (lowered) Restaurant Week expectations.
When my friend and I arrived for our 7:30 reservation, we had to fight a crowd to get to the hostess, who confirmed our reservation, but told us there were no tables available (not that there would be wait, simply that there were no tables). Hmm. I volunteered to wait at the bar, which had not been suggested by the hostess, and asked the hostess if she would cover a round of drinks. After waiting 30 minutes (we were told the wait would be 15 minutes), we were led to a crowded banquette where we were wedged between two tables.
The Restaurant Week menu included several tempting options for each course. Following unremarkable bread, we started with meatballs for me and cannelloni bean soup for my friend. The meatballs were the best dish that we tried – they reminded me of the Kefi meatballs that I love so much (although the Kefi version is better). The soup, on the other hand, was incredibly bland. For our main course, we ordered the grilled hangar steak for me and the butternut squash tortelli for my friend. When the food arrived, it was clear that it had been sitting in the kitchen window – my broccoli rabe was wilted and turning brown, the parmesan on the pasta was melted. Pictures below and additional comments after the jump.
The waiter was happy to comply with my request to take the food back, but the manager returned to tell us that the chef had assured him personally that the food had not been prepared more than 25 seconds before it arrived on our table. I was appalled – not only am I the customer and, thus, always right – I WAS right – when the fresh orders arrived, the difference was night and day. Unfortunately, while the food looked good on the second attempt, it wasn’t very exciting. The hangar steak lacked the crust that is the reason I usually love this cut of meat. The pasta dish had nice flavors, particularly the hazelnuts, but the pasta was too dense.
For dessert, we both had tiramisu, which was quite nice, although the accompanying gelato was too rich even for this coffee ice cream lover (akin to eating espresso beans). Apparently, we weren’t the only frustrated patrons at Mia Dona last Tuesday…when the manager arrived to scold us, the table next to us complained that their waiter had been rushing them and the manager had to placate them with free limoncello. Funny enough, I read that Mia Dona is going to continue offering the Restaurant Week menu through February; I hope they figure it out or it’s going to be a very long month. Restaurant Week or no Restaurant Week, Mia Dona has no place my list.