Would we go back:
11849 Millpond Avenue
• Scallops - Baked jumbo scallops with mushrooms & pearl onions in a garlic cream sauce (included caesar salad and vegetable) $18.00
• Tiramisu $5.50
I often wonder how I would have rated restaurants if we were just beginning again. I know my tastes have changed tremendously in the last ten years, in part because I have simply changed in the last ten years and in part because I have been exposed to so many good and bad meals in the past ten years to shape my tastes. For example, ten years ago I knew nothing about wine and really didn't even like, now I have learned to appreciate it and even enjoy it at times, especially anything bubbly, although I know have an opinion about various sparkling wine as well and not just any will make me happy anymore.
If I had reviewed Stephano's ten years ago, I have no doubt I would have given it a good to excellent rating. The salad I had was standard, which ten years ago would have been good to me, maybe even excellent, however now having had so many caesar salads it is hard for standard to make me happy. Ten years ago the scallop dish would have been excellent the scallops were not way over done and there was cream in the sauce. Now however it warrants a mere fair, the scallops were slightly overdone, although there were a lot of them, and while there was cream in the sauce it really had very little else going for it, since it was bland with very little spice, although there were some great mushrooms in it. The side dish, however, which was red cabbage was as surprising now as it would have been back then. I liked it and it actually complimented the scallops nicely.
I do struggle with this change in me, part of me says just let it ago and accept who you have become, the other part of me hates that I go to a popular suburban restaurant and I can't find the reason to really like it, when obviously, many do. I know, I know, "get over yourself and move on with you life, Renee, no one really cares about how you changed."
• Salad della casa $5.00
• Linguine Con Pollo Salsiccia - Chicken breast sauteed with spicy Italian sausage in a spicy tomato & garlic cream sauce.$14.00
• Cheesecake $4.00
In one respect, I admit that it’s not completely fair to go to a restaurant of the week on New Year’s Eve in order to review it. It’s a busy night with lots of chaos and commotion. Everyone’s a little frayed. But that’s also when a good restaurant can become a great restaurant or an average restaurant. Unfortunately, Stephano’s is no better than an average restaurant for food, and the service was rushed, even after losing our reservation.
Which leads me to another thought. There have been only two times in recent memory where a restaurant has lost our reservation, once on Valentine’s weekend, and once at Stephano’s. Both times, the restaurant worked us in, but both times I thought much less of the front of the house. This time, though, I could tell over the phone that the person didn’t bother to take down our name. It was that dead air feeling. Or even the feeling that, right after you hang up the phone, you ask yourself, "Did I just make a reservation, or was that just a dream sequence?"
The salad della casa was good enough. Fresh greens, good dressing, good olives and onions, all made for a good starter. The pasta that was recommended by the server was clearly in the fair range. It was a case of quantity over quality that many people prefer. I didn’t like the bland, overly thick sauce. I didn’t like the bland, supposed-to-be-spicy sausage. The price on the pasta and salad was the same as you would find at a much better Italian restaurant, making me wonder why this place was packed on New Year’s Eve for average food and rushed service. And if you do get stuck here for some unknown reason, don’t bother with dessert; the coffee is awful and the cheesecake isn’t worth the calories.
December 31, 2004