139 S Clayton St, Lawrenceville, GA | Directions 3004633.948935 -83.987766
Time for a new chef – Last night was my first time at Italia Cafe. My wife suggested we try it (she had been given great reviews by someone she knows at her job). I will agree with another reviewer who said you should judge a book by its cover as the building is a semi-converted fast food restaurant. I say semi as the drive thru menu board is still there although filled by a new board with the restaurants logo on it. In the daylight I could probably identify the shape. The parking lot was 80 percent full so I felt that it might be a good sign. Upon entering we were greeted by what I would guess is one of the owners, a very pleasant man who sat us immediately. In short order our server for the evening was at the table and all was well until the food began to arrive. Before I get into that, I think it should be taken as a hint that when the waiter suggests lasagna from a menu that's range includes steak, seafood, and several more tempting items, maybe you should listen. As a start we received the complimentary bread basket which was filled with small sliced bits of unbuttered toast. I didn't eat these but my wife did and said they were quite hard. The bread was accompanied by a small butter tray which held plastic and foil wrapped, portion control type butter and a small dish of tuna and mayonnaise puree. I didn't try this either but my wife remarked that it tasted like tuna and mayo, which is a good thing. Did I mention the wait staff was excellent and I have no issues with the service, they were great. I ordered a glass of red wine and the waiter's suggestion of which was spot on. It fit my palate perfectly. To me the failure was the meal. I ordered the ribeye steak which comes atop a bed of Arugula. I don't recall it saying that the steak would be cut into strips, buried beneath other green salad and then covered with slabs of parmesan cheese. I remember reading "Tagliata Toscana - Ribye steak on arugola salad with shaved parmesan" which is an exact quote from the menu including the misspelling of the main ingredient, which BTW costs $21.00. My first reaction upon delivery was to think "will the steak come on a separate plate". No it's there, under a pile of salad greens and not shaved parm but thick slabs of it. It doesn't accentuate the steak, it flat hides it. One taste and you'll know why. The steak was as tough as beef jerky. I order medium rare and to my surprise I found a wide range of doneness throughout each slice. I had a slice that was well done, I had a slice that was nearly raw and cold. And it's hard to send a meal back that is already in slices and get it cooked evenly. The flavor was simply that of the meat and the seasoning was little to non-existant. This can be a good thing if the meat has exceptional flavor (like Sashimi), or is simply a great piece of tender butter soft steak. I fought through each slice trying to cut it with the butter knife (no steak knife was presented). Why should I have to cut sliced steak? Because it was the toughest ribeye I've ever sampled. The dish had a drizzle and by drizzle I mean if the weatherman had forecasted drizzle, you could have gone out with no coat, no umbrella and been fine. To its credit the Arugula was fresh. Why didn't I complain? Simple, the band was so loud that to speak you found yourself shouting and we were at the table with the greatest distance from them. Shouldn't the music set the mood and not dominate the room? I left a couple of the 7 total slices (that's 3 dollars per slice) behind on the plate but I'm sure they got no attention from the cook. I've always said that the quality of the food matters more that the quantity, so if those 7 slices had melted on my mouth or been able to be cut with a fork, I would have felt like it was money well spent. Next time I will listen and try the lasagna.
The meat that has been tried is 'of first quality Angus beef ", and the rocket might not like the taste that combines perfectly with this kind of meat and Parmesan cheese and balsmico vinegar of Modena. For music and 'very high and I agree with him, but my clients like to spend a night in joy and not in absolute sadness ...
But the thing that 'hit me and' the rage to have written a review, and I do not discourage some from his review after 32 years of experience with being an excutive chef in restaurants world wide .. After I have Janet Garvey made such reviews on WWW: GAYOT.com that only a few restaurants have the privilege and only someone in Atlanta had them with a rated very high, didnot alarm me for a customer who has not 'been to his taste and think the money that he spent the evening was not worth it and it was not fair to judge the name despite not being a true food critic.I wait for you to taste the best LASAGNA...
Yum, Yum – I went to this restaurant based on reviews I read on other sites. This some of the best Italian food I have had since coming back from Italy. Everything is made from scratch. Service is excellent.
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