Yesterday, we went for a Birthday Dinner (Happy Birthday Pete!), with a bunch of friends, at Intermezzo in Chelsea. I was really looking forward for great company and of course great food. It started well: nice restaurant with a very stylish and not overdone decor. I loved the nice black and white pictures picturing scenes of people eating pasta, some of them representing famous Italian actors like Marcello Mastroianni and Gina Lollobrigida.
They also had nice chandeliers and a big mirror overseeing the entire dinning room. In term of atmosphere, it was quiet, but I heard that during brunch time, it can get crazy with music and all you can drink booze.
The service was nice but a bit slow. It seems they went under new management in November 2011, so I am not sure if the slowness of service is because they are still tweaking the kitchen.
At the beginning, they left a bread basket with some olive oil on the table and kept bringing the bread throughout the evening, that is always nice. The focaccia was very good and the olive oil had some garlic and I guess some pepper because it had some kick.
Then, for appetizer, I got the Polpo that is Portuguese octopus, potatoes, string beans, oregano, extra virgin olive oil and red vinegar. I love octopus, but was a bit disappointed: it was perfectly cooked but had a fishy taste (did they re-froze it???). The only think I really liked was the fried potatoes. I think I should have ordered the Mozzarella in Carozza (Crispy Mozzarella and bread, fried zucchini, tomato and basil) that is fried mozzarella. I tried it and it was pretty good! The zucchini were cut like pasta and I loved the crispiness and saltiness of it!
For the main dish, I chose the Linguine Alle Vongole that is Linguine pasta with Manilla Clams in a sauce with white wine and extra virgin olive oil. The pasta were well cooked but missing salt and the Manilla clams were...real! Not from a can (I got that one time in a restaurant!!!). The clams were a bit rubbery. Now, the sauce was tasteless. So disappointing! I did not finish my dish! Too bad because the Linguine Alle Vongole is my test dish: each time I go to a new Italian restaurant, this is what I try.
I also tried the Eggplant Parmigiana: tasteless too! Missing seasoning and cheese.
The Birthday boy ordered Chicken Parmigiana, his favorite there, but had to return the dish because it was stone cold. Also, our friend Jaimie ordered the lasagna, recommended by the waiter. It looked weird: was more a meatloaf than a lasagna! No sauce, no cheese.
For dessert, we tried the Tiramisu, thinking it would improve the poor experience we had so far. Unfortunately, it was not the case: it was flavorless!
So it was really mediocre food. Too bad, because the presentation of the dishes made them appetizing. We realized after we left that the it was graded B! Of course, they put the sign on a side window, difficult to see! I would not go back there for sure! Now, I am craving a good Italian to erase that bad memory! Morandi remains the best for me!
At the end of the day, we anyway had a great time with our friends and it was the most important part of the evening...although great food would have been awesome!!!
Forget it (I did)!