The Other Dinner


If you read my recent post about the delightful Susanna Foo’s restaurant on the Main line in Philly, you will recall I had another dinner experience that was not as enjoyable.  And without saying too much negative, I will tell you this:  Thank God they had multiple bread baskets on the tables.

Not everyone had the same experience as I did, but for the most post I think we all felt a little “meh” about it.  And the reason we went there was because the person in charge had some great feedback about the place, so maybe it was a fluke night, but I can say pretty confidently I will not be returning.

The restaurant I’m talking about was San Nicola Trattoria, also on the Main line on Philly.

SN trattoria

I started off with what I interpreted to be a salad, however was more of an antipasto platter (which was admittedly my fault):

Prosciutto con Rucola – $6.75

Thinly sliced imported prosciutto served with arugula in a balsamic vinaigrette and sharp provolone cheese


I removed about 1/2 the prosciutto before even attempting to eat it, but after one bite I knew it was a miss.   I know that prosciutto is salty, but this was almost unbearable.  A few of my fellow-diners tasted it and confirmed, and so I put my pouty face on and pushed my salty plate away, deciding not to continue eating it.  (You should know that I swell up like the Michelin man when I have too much sodium, so it was indeed for the best.)

Disappointed that half of my meal was sub-par, I anxiously awaited my next dish:

Involtini di Melanzane – $6.75

Lightly batter dipped eggplant slices rolled around provolone cheese, asparagus, basil and capers in a garlic tomato sauce

eggplant 2


I will say that round two was a vast improvement, however I was still left feeling underwhelmed.  I am a lover of Italian food and admittedly set the bar pretty high when dining in what boasts to be a restaurant serving “Authentic Italian Cuisine”.  I feel like I could have ordered this at the Olive Garden (which I’m not hating on by the way, salad & bread sticks are my jam).  The flavors in the marinara were decent, but the asparagus in the eggplant was undercooked and there was more cheese than I would have liked.  The cheese ended up totally overwhelming the dish and leaving me wishing I would have ordered pasta or something with more sustenance, as I once again only ate about half the meal, pouty face still in tact.  Something like this, which my new bff Kristin ordered:

Spaghetti con Gamberetti – $13.25

Angel hair pasta sautéed with shrimp and a brandy flavored cream sauce


This was actually pretty decent, but I thought it had a bit too much of a cinnamon flavor for what was supposed to be a savory dish.   It was definitely far better than either of the items I ordered, however, and for that I was jealous.  Luckily she shared a few bites which helped ease my one-person pity party.  (And for the record she did really enjoy it, so maybe I was just being complicated that night.)

So overall, like I said earler, I don’t think I’d go back.  I hate to be harsh and speak poorly of a business just trying to make it, but I’m still a little bitter about spending almost $40 (I may have had a glass of wine or two…) on a dinner that left me so disappointed. 

Trattoria San Nicola on Urbanspoon

Would you share a poor restaurant review?  And do you send your food back if it’s not up to your expectations?  (I’m way too scared someone will tamper with it!)

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  1. I’d definitely post a bad review of specific food. Their menu might not be totally awful, but someone with your tastes would definitely find it helpful to know what not to order.

    I’ve always been afraid to send food back as well! Usually Scott will eat it if it’s less than stellar. Hah.

  2. Phew! I was worried it was one of my favorite restaurants, but I’ve never even heard of that place! I NEVER send back food. The way I look at it, these people are cooking for me AND serving me. I have no right to complain!

  3. I’m with ya on the salt thing. I rarely put it in anything anymore- so when I do have a dish that is heavy in it? Oh dear… pass the water so we can flush it out of my system!

    I NEVER send food back- I know I’m paying for the food/service, but it scares me too much!

  4. I’m pretty bad about sending food back. I’m an assertive person, but I worry when it comes to they’ll do something to it. But I really hate overly salty food — it’s the worst.

    I’d probably give a restaurant a second chance, and that’s it.

  5. I think I’d share a pour restaurant review. Your blog is about your experiences, so why not?

    And I used to send back food if it didn’t meet my expectations, but now I hesitate more. I’ve read a lot about what happens in the kitchen…ick!

  6. I share poor restaurant reviews because I think if nothing else if gives them an opportunity to improve. A business won’t fail because of bad reviews, it will fail because a restaurant doesn’t try to improve its weaknesses.
    Sorry for the sucky dinner!

  7. I would definitely share a poor review. I mean, you’d tell your real life friends, why wouldnt you tell your blog friends?

    I’ve never sent food back, ever. Im way too scared to do that. Plus, I always stay pretty safe with my choices. I’ve never really had an issue.

  8. I definitely share if I feel I’ve had a less than stellar performance from some place. And I’m with ya on the salt.

  9. I share poor reviews, but I don’t insult the restaurant itself. I just say what I didn’t like about the dish and why. I think restaurants want to know what their customers think. I’m sure you’re not the first person who didn’t like that dish.

  10. If a restaurant is bad, I will say it’s bad. If the food or the service is subpar, I definitely let people know, just like I would want to know if I was going to a new restaurant.

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