This marks the first of a month's worth of entries from guest contributors seeking to ape the elusive style of the Surly Gourmand, who will return in October. This week's faux Surly (hence, the asterisk) is a Tweetie Bird named Marc.
Look, mom. no beer gut.
Seattle is a town with dozens of Italian restaurants, most of which are as authentic and exciting as an evening with parents at the Olive Garden. Enter That's Amore. We arrived to find a stunning view of downtown Seattle, and a Mt. Baker restaurant hotter and more humid than your mom's jeans after a mention of Matt Lauer. Our sweet and eager MILFish Sarah Palin stunt double waitress seated us and quickly delivered their "signature" rosemary bread. This bread brings back memories to a 1980s kitchen bread machine loaf that came out of the machine looking (and tasting) like it was made in a bucket. The bread was flaccid, uninteresting and begged to have something cover it. Like kerosene.We made our way to the menu, which incidentally has been as tired and unchanging for the past 10 years as that show your mother does with the donkey, the midget and ping-pong balls. A wild boar ragu arrived, studded with cremini and dried porcini mushrooms. It was Hamboarger Helper with some shredded parmesan over the top, leaving us searching the table for the green parmesan can, which I know was there somewhere. With some additional seasoning and cooking to add depth of flavor, it could have had some promise. Instead, it fell as flat as the pizza margarita, a depressing tomato paste-heavy, tinny-tasting sauce on a tasteless, underseasoned, crispy, blah crust. We should have listened to Sarah, who told us her favorite pizza was the Leschi--or, as she pronounced it, the La Shai. We couldn't wait to try the Tacom-wah.
The scampi ravioli featured flawlessly cooked shrimp in a light cream sauce lying atop ricotta ravioli, the flavor of which made us agree they were freshly boiled out of the Costco bag. There were a couple of promising dishes, however; the pasta puttanesca delivered nicely executed shrimp and a tangy tomato sauce with just a hint of heat from dried chiles. If there had been more than just a tease of the requisite capers and olives, it would have been almost perfect. The special of the evening was a porkloin (one word, according to the menu), and it delivered overall. The veal was perfectly cooked with a nice charred exterior and perfectly juicy meat on the inside, topped with goat cheese and sautéed greens drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Unfortunately it was served atop tragically tasteless gnocchi, apparently thrown in the cart at Costco along with the ricotta ravioli.
Overall, That's Amore is like a night with your mom. You have your immediate needs met, but you walk away a little sick and queasy from going there, and wonder why you didn't have another drink before you went.
Rating: 6 humid mom jeans out of 10.