PEr FYI

April 6, 2014

Bocca, Shanghai… all about the view NOT the food nor service.

From high-end Bocca, the awe-inspiring skyline views of the Bund twinkle in the darkness. Getting the positives out of the way, I will admit if you have to eat at a fake Italian restaurant, Bocca does a good a job as any in making you feel welcome and comfortable. The tables and chairs are big, spacious, well-appointed. Dark wood gives everything an old-world feel, and the place settings and stemware are also a notch or three above other similar restaurants.

Bocca is very overpriced for the quality of food served. The food here was okay, but nothing great. Was expecting some Italian goodness. Not to be found. From the double smoked Scottish salmon with grappa marinated salmon roe, horseradish cream, asparagus and cucumber sauce to the beef carpaccio arrostito – handcut Australian grass fed roastbeef with mixed herbs oil sauce and micro rocket seeding, they were the same….mediocre at best. The seared diver scallop with porcini mushroom, Italian bacon and cranberry saffron potato and broccoli was very salty and there was no mussels in the home made thin noodles with clams and mussels, smoked with applewood.

The service by distracted, inattentive, inept or unfriendly waitrons was very much a mess. The incompetent waiter couldn’t even suggest desserts for though we asked for recommendations. When we wanted more water, the waiter simply told us “the bottle you ordered is empty already.” Seriously?

I highly recommend Bocca to those who want to eat Italian food the way it will taste when they are 90 years old, at death’s door, and being spoon fed by a minimum-wage orderly who also changes their diaper. Bocca is all about the view NOT the food nor service. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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March 4, 2013

Graffiato, Washington DC…Italian food in tapas style and portion.

Italian food in tapas style and portion. The ambience is stylish yet simple which is reflective of the food.

One of the best dishes I had at Graffiato was the crispy brussel sprouts with maple, pancetta and egg (and that’s a HUGE surprise as brussels sprouts has never been my thing). The brussel sprouts were soft on the inside, but had nicely carmelized , sweet and smoky outer edges which tasted charred and slightly burnt. The pizza we ordered (what else) the Jersey Shore was visually AND tastefully appealing. Perfectly fried and crisped calamari with a wonderful cherry pepper aoli. This was a mean pizza, and I’d order it again in a heartbeat and oh, by the way, the pizza was the only regular sized dish. The roasted potato gnocchi is a solid gnocchi dish. Not the greatest, but check out the truffles. Not all were hits, though, there were some misses too. The glazed pork belly wasnt bad, but it  didn’t quite live up to expectations and the risotto was average at best.

The wait staff was very friendly, knowledgeable and completely competent.

While I don’t think Graffiato is the best of the best, I think it’s still pretty darn good and I am compelled to return. This is still the true truth as I still say it as it is…

Jersey Shore pizza

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