Friday, November 15, 2013

B and B Ristorante - Not exactly what I expected

Growing up in a family that evolved around food, I was always watching the food network or any PBS show that involved food. What’s for dinner, Karen’s Kitchen, Julia Childs and Jacques Pepin are some of the shows I grew up watching. Besides Iron Chef, my earliest food network memory was watching this big Chef with red hair cook up some delicious Italian cuisine. Molto Mario was my first introduction to proper Italian cooking, so when I found out I was going to Las Vegas for the 2013 SEMA show, I knew I had to stop at one of Mario’s restaurants.

Having heard so many of my fellow food lovers’ talk about B and B Ristorante, I knew I had to try it for myself. The first day at the SEMA show, yes the car show, my boss asked me to book a reservation at any restaurant my heart desired, as long as it was expensive as his partners were paying. I immediately tried to get us in at Gordon Ramsay Steak, then Mesa Grill and finally the only one that had a table at a decent hour for nine people was B and B. We arrived 3 minutes late to our reservation and were told there was going to be a bit of a wait as the previous party had not finished yet. We waited about fifteen minutes before we began feeling restless. We grabbed a few seats at the front entrance of the restaurant and ordered a couple of bottles of wine; needless to say no one was happy waiting so long for our reservation. Forty minutes later we were finally taken to our table – my boss and his partners were pissed to say the least. So far this was a terrible start to a dinner that I had been looking forward to, I tried to calm everyone down by insisting the food would make up for the wait.

We sat down and ordered a few more bottles of Brunello, but were quickly informed there were none left – not the best thing to say to already annoyed customers. They replaced the wine we were enjoying with another similar one on the house; at least they began to realize our frustration. We ordered some antipasto plates for the table, homemade salumi, olives, and prosciutto that were quite good. This did not make up for the fact that we had been waiting for way too long, but it was nice to finally taste some food. Our waiter reminded me of a Mario Batali wannabe; he was a larger man, big mustache and a fake Italian accent that annoyed me and my fellow diners to death. He spoke way too quickly and instead of listening to what we had to say or ask, he spoke over us – so frustrating.

We were nine people at our table and all ordered different main courses. One diner decided on the rabbit porchetta, little did we know this dish would take an extra 35 minutes to prepare. Would have been nice to let us all know that we would all be eating way before our fellow diner – really upsetting! The rabbit was delicious and tender, but we were all so pissed off by the time it arrived that it was not enjoyed to the fullest.

I had the beef cheeks ravioli in a truffle sauce with crushed duck liver – amazing! This dish was full of flavour and truly out of this world delicious. The subtle tender flavour of the beef cheeks was perfectly complimented by the strong flavours of the truffles and silkiness of the liver. My only complaint was the small portion and the fact that the ravioli itself had a very strange chewy texture, but besides that the dish was excellent.

My Boss, who happens to be a relatively easy going kind of guy, ordered the penne with what he was told was a tomato and vegetable sauce. What arrived was a tomato sauce, but it was so salty and terribly flavoured that after one bite we flagged the waiter down to take the dish back. It was totally inedible and really an insult to Italian food. My boss re-ordered the dish and asked for no salt, he got just that. A new plate of penne was served with what tasted like a can of pureed tomatoes.  It was not better than the first plate, but at least it wasn’t covered in salt. Really, a can of Ragu or Prego would have been better than this sauce.

Next it was the penne carbonara with lamb pancetta that had to be sent back. Terrible is not even a good description of this dish. The pasta and sauce tasted as though it was made of pure cardboard. No flavour whatsoever, no salt and definitely no pancetta, lamb or otherwise, made an appearance in this awful/disgusting dish. Since I was the one who recommended this restaurant, I began to feel awful – I really wondered what the chef thought that night! At this point I turned to my friend sitting next to me and whispered how embarrassed Mario Batali should be, seriously the worst meals ever.

As I finished whispering to my fellow diner, he urged me to take a bite of his spaghetti with spicy chives, sweet garlic and 1lb lobster. First off 1lb of lobster, BULLSHIT! There was maybe 4 mini pieces of shrivelled up overcooked lobster on his plate that didn’t taste nor resemble lobster at all. As I bit into the bite on my fork, my mouth immediately exploded in flames. I for one love spicy food, the hotter the better, but this dish had no flavour to the heat. It was pure fire that left a terribly bitter and disgusting after-taste; needless to say this dish also got sent back and changed for gnocchi Bolognese. The Bolognese sauce was decent but hardly made up for the first dish.

We were all so fed up by now that all we wanted to do was finish our wines and get the hell out of that disaster of a restaurant. The waiter and manager could see our frustrations and brought us out some desserts – really desserts to make up for all the crap we went through! Had I been the manager, I would have comped the entire meal and insisted we come back for another meal on them, this manager had no interest in appeasing the situation at all – terrible service.

We all left the restaurant angry and really annoyed. I felt guilty and terrible for having recommended this restaurant but hoped that they would get over it quickly – WRONG! I was teased for two whole days! On the evening of the second day, it was my turn again to suggest a restaurant, boy was I terrified but thankfully this time I redeemed myself! All I can say is be careful what you order at B and B Ristorante, but honestly I would not even recommend it to anyone!

B & B Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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