October 18, 2011

Another horrible excuse of a restaurant

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OK, I wasn't gonna blog about tonight's dinner.  It was pretty bad, but at first I didn't feel the need to stomp and crush on a restaurant that obviously isn't doing good business.  But... the more I thought about it, the more I felt the restaurant doesn't deserve to survive.  If this is the kind of food you serve, you deserve to go out of business.  Harsh?  Sure.  But that's the reality, isn't it?

I was meeting a couple of people for dinner, and my friend suggested to give Portofino a try.  Apparently the place had been open for a few years just around the corner from the current location, and it used to be decent.  Well, definitely wasn't the case tonight, and since we were one of only two tables this evening... I'm thinking that others feel the same way.

The menu's pretty simple, which isn't a problem.  It's meant to be a casual restaurant anyway.  The host decided to order for us all, and I left it in his good hands.

We started with a small platter of cold cuts and cheese, which I didn't even bother to take a picture of.  I don't expect artisanal quality cheese at a place like this, but I also could not believe my eyes when I was served La vache qui rit!  Yes, the spreadable wedges!  In a restaurant!  WTF?!  I know that the average customer in Taipei isn't that sophisticated when it comes to cheese, but this isn't even cheese!  It's a cheese product!

We then moved on to some sautéed button mushrooms, bell peppers and zucchini, which were OK and nicely seasoned with some minced garlic.

Then came two salads:  the seafood salad with prawns and calamari was OK.

The seared tuna salad was OK, too.

We shared the main courses, too.  The spaghetti with clams was OK.

The beef risotto was... not that good.  The rice was overcooked and a little mushy, and the beef was overcooked and tough.

The baked chicken breast came with a layer of cheese on top, and was also overcooked. I chose not to complain, but the others were upset enough to send it back to the kitchen.

What we got as a replacement was osso bucco.  This was even worse... a complete FAIL.  Not only was the meat of the beef shank utterly tasteless, it was covered in a very strange sauce... would you believe... bolognese?!  W-T-F...  Who the hell puts minced beef together with beef shank?!

Fortunately, we had a couple of bottles of wine... so all was not lost.

2006 Bouchard Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrières - sweet on the nose, with corn, lemon, a little toast.  Initially a little light-bodied, but developed over time.  Not bad at all.

1997 Saintsbury Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir - nose was very alcoholic, fruity, sweet... almost a little over-ripe and I thought it was a little cooked at first.  A little minty with dried herbs.

P.S.  I made a couple of trips to the toilet after I got home, if you know what I mean...

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