Monday, January 4, 2010
2391 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA http://pvbuckhead.com/
I have eaten at Pasta Vino four times in the past two years, all for lunch. It's located in the Peachtree Battle shopping center on Peachtree Rd. It has a pleasant green awning out front and the interior is decorated in standard "Tuscany" colors - mauve, maize and brown. Black and white candid portraits of the restaurant's staff add a touch of personality.
Right off I noticed the menu had changed when I visited Pasta Vino for lunch today. The restaurant used to offer their full menu for lunch as well as dinner. Now they've limited their lunch selections to a few salads, sandwiches and pastas. I have enjoyed the linguine with white clam sauce in the pasta but found this is no longer a lunch option, so I ordered the gnocchi with "pink" sauce. When I asked about ingredients that comprised the sauce the waiter blinked at me and said "it's a pink sauce." Bidden to elaborate, he showed his irritation as he responded that it is made from tomatoes and cream. This was not a new waiter - this is the same person who was pictured on the wall right behind me, smiling and generally looking like a much happier person than the one in front of me.
In its defense, the gnocchi looked better in person than it does in the picture. It was fine, but not great, slightly gummy and in need of some salt. Actually, what is was really in need of was some fresh, grated Parmesan cheese. Just as you enter the restaurant, there is a small table with a bowl of fresh, grated Parmesan cheese and small spoon which your waiter is supposed to bring by your table after you receive your entree. Did this ever happen? No.
And I'm not surprised about this. The only time I've ever gotten good service at Pasta Vino is the first time when I came with my mom. My mom is normally notorious for driving waiters crazy but something about her helped us with the staff in this case - we were attentively served. The other 3 times I've eaten alone, and I don't know if the waiter immediately (and incorrectly) pegged me as a bad tipper or a difficult customer, but I've been virtually ignored on these occasions. One time I watched my server hover over an apparently affluent couple, quickly getting their entrees to their table and refilling their drinks regularly while I waited for over 40 minutes for my pasta, resulting in a late return to my workplace. This time I had to request silverware after I received my bread, and of course missed out on the Parmesan which would have improved the gnocchi.
Speaking of the bread, it was below average. It tasted too wheaty and was served with individually wrapped plastic servings of butter, a cheap choice in my opinion. There's a small bottle of olive oil at your table but it's not great either.
Verdict: Three times of poor service and average food is not a charm. Atlanta is full of little Italian restaurants with better offerings. Choose one of them for your lunch or dinner.