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Monday, February 9, 2009

.: Aldo's during restaurant week :.

normally when restaurant week arrives in Baltimore, i try to make room in my budget for at least one visit. however, with the economy as it is, i completely let it bypass me. that is, until jab mentioned that he wanted to try an italian place. we rarely have italian and it's actually jab's favorite cuisine. i'm not as enthused about it. if i want my food covered in a heavy sauce, i prefer that sauce to be a black bean sauce, or a spicy tamarind, or ginger soy sauce. that gets me salivating. but i was willing to give it a go.

the thing about italian for me is that it's heavy. mind you, giada is my fave celeb chef on foodtv and i turn to her recipes the most. her dishes are light and airy and pretty. but would you really call her dishes really italian? Aldo's promised to be an italian experience. from the moment i stepped into the restaurant, tho, i was not impressed. the maitre d' was not warm or inviting. with a few minutes to spare, i ordered a glass of wine at the bar, that was packed. the bartender was efficient but again, not very inviting. i hoped that the first two ambassadors of this place was not a sign of things to come.

oh but it was. the restaurant was busy, i think much more so than they normally are for a thursday night. the one lone server our section was so rushed. he was very polite and i actually felt sorry for him. he was way over his head. service took forever.

melon wrapped with proscuitto

to start, i ordered the Prosciutto e Melone, which i enjoyed but had to trade with jab because he got the Sashimi-Grade Saku Tuna Loin Carpaccio, Tonnato Sauce. i enjoyed that too tho so it's all good. all the appetizers did not require cooking and yet it took close to 45 minutes for us to be served.

tuna tartar

our entrees did arrive late as well. i think we finished yet another basket of bread before they arrived. i chose the Tagliata di Manzo • Seared Beef Tenderloin which came out very nicely albeit a small portion. jab ordered well, he chose the Line-Caught Florida Grouper "Francese". the risotto was creamy and warm, the grouper fresh and cooked just right. i nibbled off his plate more than mine.

steak and potatoes

grouper  and creamy seafood risotto

normally i don't finish my plate, there is always leftovers to take home to have for lunch the next day. not that night. even when i was already fully, i picked at my plate waiting for someone to clear the table. I KNOW! when my panna cotta came out, overly drizzled with mango coulis, it was just not appetizing. jab's cannoli was better but i thought kinda hard. maybe it was a day old?

mango panna cotta


i won't go back. but i liked the company. and really, sometimes that's enough to make an evening.


  1. I totally missed Chicago's restaurant week, which is a big bummer, but it just didn't work out. Glad I got to hear about someone participating somewhere, even if the restaurant was a bit of a disappointment - and I totally agree about company making the meal.

  2. Dear “Angry Asian,”

    I own Aldo’s and I was disappointed to learn you didn’t enjoy your visit.

    Without knowing more details about your recent visit, unfortunately, I can’t comment on the quality of your dining experience as it relates to your service or the speed of service on that particular evening. Needless to say, we pride ourselves on exceptionally high standards of service at Aldo’s. To the extent we may have fallen short of our own expectations and goals, please accept my sincere apologies.

    And while I’m very confident about the caliber of our cuisine (although low lighting doesn’t really flatter those pictures of our dishes much, does it?), I don’t know that addressing your dissatisfaction in that area would matter much, as you’d admitted that Italian cuisine is not your favorite from the start.

    Regarding portion sizes, you’ll understand that offering a 3-course menu for $30.09 proves challenging to restaurateurs who share our firm commitment to high-quality ingredients. It is, to be certain, a challenge that my chefs and I welcome, but it does limit us to an extent. After all, an average entrée at Aldo’s alone is priced at roughly $30. While we don’t expect to make a profit from the Restaurant Week menu, it cannot be offered at a loss, either (particularly in this economy).

    We view Restaurant Week as an opportunity for guests who’ve never dined with us to get a sense of what dining at Aldo’s is like. During the 17 days of Winter Restaurant Week 2009, nearly 4,000 guests did just that here at Aldo’s.

    Suffice it to say, we always look forward to the privilege of serving our guests. I’m very fortunate to work with an outstanding team of professionals that truly enjoys what we do.

    Again, to the extent your experience fell short of your expectations, please accept my apologies. I’d invite you to visit us again and alert our reservations staff of your visit so that I’m afforded the opportunity to welcome you personally.

    Warm regards,

    Sergio Vitale

    P.S. FYI: notwithstanding your commentary (“jab's cannoli was… kinda hard. maybe it was a day old?”), you should know that cannoli shells are supposed to be crunchy--it’s a mark of quality and freshness!

  3. shannalee -
    hopefully you'll be able to hit chicago's summer restaurant week. i'm looking forward to it this summer.

    Sergio -
    thank you for your note, it's very kind of you to invite us back to Aldo's. should the occasion arise again, we'll see about visiting aldo's again.