It's a bittersweet circumstance when you visit a restaurant and part of the experience is redolent of past delights and the rest is simply average. At Centolire, authentic imported Italian waiters welcome you with a warm and hearty 'Buona sera!' On this particular evening, one was from Puglia, one from Napoli, and the chef from Rome. I actually had an opportunity to practice my emergent Italian, and felt pangs of nostalgia remembering my honeymoon in that magical land.
The restaurant is so small, we circled the block and went right by it twice before we caught a glimpse of a chalkboard on the sidewalk with the name on it. The interior is cozy and elegantly simple- dark wood, white walls and linens, black and white photography on the walls.
John ordered the Bistecca Pizzaiola, and I had the lobster ravioli in pink sauce.
The Pizzaiola was flavorful but not plentiful and surprisingly, it did not come with a side of pasta, which didn't give the dish that generous and satisfying look we've become accustomed to getting from traditional Italian eateries. The ravioli were tasty, the lobster mild and pleasant, but they weren't memorable. Neither dish helped perpetuate that wistful feeling that washed over me when I first arrived.
We were intrigued by the Nutella ravioli on the dessert menu. They were quite good and adequately stuffed with that chocolatey, hazelnutty (new word) food of the gods, but we expected them to be doughy and warm, and to release their contents with just a bite. Instead, their texture was more like a crunchy cookie that had to be shattered to get to the goodness inside.
I so wanted to love this place! I kept hoping to find at least one element that would make it special because I was so enamored of the waiters and how they did give
the atmosphere a proper Italian flair. But in the end I couldn't find anything outstanding that would make me go out of my way to return. I'll have to find somewhere else to practice my Italian. 'Ciao, amici!'
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