October third/secret shopper

3 10 2008

Today is my birthday. I have had a great day. I spoke to family, got birthday cards and well wishes from friends, spent some time at work and spent some time with Ed. We went out to dinner at Basil Cafe on Market Street.

Here is my secret shopper report:

There are potted basil plants along the walkway that leads to the front door. Kind of cute. We were greeted at the door and seated away from the bar and the smoke. The booths have wood seats and are not terribly comfortable but the ambiance makes up for that a little. It is a family owned and run restaurant. The owners are New York Italians. Our waitress was very friendly and helpful. She told us the specials and went on to describe the “sawses”  (sauces) for each dish. I love me a NY accent, made me feel right at home. I got the veal picatta. Very nice dish. The veal was very tender and it was not breaded. Veal picatta should be a sauteed dish and should never be breaded. The “saws” was light and had a nice amount of capers in it. This was served over spaghetti. I would have preferred it over angel hair pasta to keep it light but it was still good. No salad included and none offered.

Ed had the lasagna which was just average and not hot enough for his taste. It was probably precooked and stored in a freezer then cooked off in the oven or nuked. It was on the dry side. Ed  likes some meat in his lasagna and this had none. He would not get that again.

So far, they get 2 1/2 stars out of a possible 5. Ah, but now the desert. A canoli please and thank you. The shell is pretty basic canoli shell. Basil fills the shell upon order so that the shell does not get soggy. The filling was excellent. Nice mix of ricotta, chocolate chips, cinnamon and perhaps vanilla. I don’t like that they covered the whole shell in powdered sugar but that is just my taste. The presentation was extravagant. I only ordered one canolli but they served me two on a very large plate. They put multi-colored sprinkles on the ends of the canoli and drizzled the plate with chocolate and caramel. Then, for no apparent reason, on the corner of the plate was a mountain of whipped cream, topped with sprinkles on top of some raspberry sauce. Oh yeah, and marachino cherries next to that. So, in my humble, Italian, flashy opinion the presentation was overkill. However, the canoli tasted pretty darn good and if I were not afraid of exploding right there at the table, I would have eaten the second one. Our waitress made me a fresh pot of decaf and whenever she walked by would ask us, “How are yous doing?” Did I mention that I love New Yorkers? I mentioned that it was my birthday. No perks for that in case you were wondering.

All tolled it was an enjoyable meal and I would give the restaurant 3 stars out of a possible five.



2 responses

4 10 2008

I don’t think I have ever had canoli, but it sure sounds good! And Happy (late) Birthday! Maybe you should have told them it was Uncle Ed’s birthday… LOL


5 10 2008



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