Review: In this case, I wouldn’t call the owner The King.

27 Sep

When a restaurant receives polarizing Yelp reviews (all 5 Stars or 1 Star), it’s bound to be an experience. At least, that was my rationale when I struck out for dinner last night. I’d consulted my phone for a recommendation, and found myself seated at Trattoria Casa Di Isacco – a dimly lit Italian place in Hells Kitchen.

The Yelp Review that ultimately led me to try it? “Weird, fun, creepy, but pretty good food. Definitely has character in a Spanish Elvis cooks Italian food in a restaurant decorated for Christmas yet in a February kind of way.”

I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I wanted to know.

First off – the owner is Spanish and loves him some Elvis. I say this not only because his hair was clearly modeled after that famous pompadour, but also because every inch of wall space was occupied by photos and paintings of The King (including more than one black velvet model).

Oh, and also? The television showed Mediterranean Elvis impersonators dancing along to the soundtrack of Spanish/Italian songs. Yep, it was an experience.

The owner – whom other Yelp reviewers loved – irritated me. At least, I assume he was the owner, based on the way he strode around the place as if he owned it. When he approached my table and spouted off the specials, I found myself struggling to decipher the day’s specials because his accent was a bit challenging.

He left me to contemplate my choices, and when he returned, I asked him for a recommendation. “I’ve whittled it down to either the Gnocci Pesto, the Lasagna, or the Veal Marsala. Of those, which do you think is best?”

I’m not sure if that question offended him, or if he’s just generally a prick, but his answer – “I can’t make up your mind for you. They are all good but very different. You decide” – wasn’t exactly the tip I was looking for .

“Fine,” I said. “I’ll take the Veal Piccata,” I told him, mentally high-fiving myself for not saying please. And mentally calling him a CornHole.

When the food arrived, it obliterated the owner’s surly behavior. The veal piccata had been pounded to within an inch of its life and was swimming in a lemon caper sauce that was equally good on bread. I may have just been hungry, but it was easy to clean my plate.

Apparently the owner decided he didn’t like me either, because after he took my order, another guy had taken over the dinner service. He returned to clear my plate, crumb the table, and bring me a complimentary glass of sweet dessert wine.

I could see why the place had received such spotty reviews. I suspect the stars match the mood of the owner on any particular night. Unfortunately, I caught him on a one-star night.

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One Response to “Review: In this case, I wouldn’t call the owner The King.”

  1. Lorna's Voice September 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    You adventuresome soul, you. What’s next? Hotel’s that get either a 4 or 1 bed-bug rating? 😉

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