Evening dinner review
(Stu’s note: We first reviewed Michelangelo’s Ristorante back in October 2008. Back then, we largely enjoyed our meal. Times change and Michelangelo’s have relocated further south down Highland Drive, into much newer, fancier digs. The restaurant has only just opened and Corrinne recently gave the place a whirl)
When I was a kid my birthday celebrations always included going to a restaurant. I’d get to pick the place of course and for several years running I tortured my parents by requesting a restaurant called the Hawaiian that used to be on Highland Drive. There were tiki shaped glasses, fake rainstorms, and mediocre Chinese food. Even now birthday celebrations in our family usually involve going to restaurants, and this year for my mom’s birthday she asked to go to the newly moved Michelangelo’s Ristorante. I’d never been to their old location in Sugarhouse, but their new restaurant on Highland Drive looked quite enticing from the outside so we happily complied with her request.
I made reservations for 7, and when we were seated they put us into our own small room in the back of the restaurant that looked well suited for larger parties like ours. Our waitress promptly greeted us and we soon were ordering drinks, appetizers, and munching on their delicious bread.
We settled on 2 special appetizers, the Carciofi (artichoke in Italian I believe – $9.00) and the Misto antipasto plate ($16.00). The Carciofi was filled with fontina and sprinkled with biscotti crumbs. This was good, but I think a stronger cheese would have been better as the whole thing was a bit bland. The antipasto plate had an assortment of meats, cheeses, olives, a head of roasted garlic, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, and one artichoke heart. With 7 of us, this got gobbled up very quickly.
My mom ordered the Insalata Mista ($6.00), and as basic salads go she said this one was fine.
Several of us ordered the Contadina salad ($10.00). It is a Caprese salad with greens, and my biggest complaint was that the very robust balsamic dressing overwhelmed the fresh mozzarella taste. For 10 bucks, I’d hope for a bit better balance of flavors. My sister Stephanie ordered the minestrone (like she does just about every where), and had high praise for the flavor ($6.00).
At this point in the meal, things took an unfortunate turn for the worse. About half an hour after we’d all finished our salads our waitress came out with an apology from the chef for the wait and a dish of their Gnocchi al Pomodoro ($14.95) to tide us over until our entrees were up. We could see the restaurant was completely full (it was 7 o’clock on a Saturday night), and we appreciated the acknowledgment that we were waiting a somewhat inordinate amount of time before we received our dinners.
My sister Stacy took the first bite and pronounced that it tasted like doughy SpagettiO’s. Honestly, I thought she was being silly until I tasted it. She’d pegged it. Everyone had a bite just to confirm what we were saying, but we didn’t finish it.
About 20 minutes after that four of our entrees appeared. My mom had ordered the Gnocchi al Pesto ($15.00) and instead of a bright basil pesto taste it was very creamy and unfortunately very bland. Stacy and Jason had both ordered the special veal tortelloni ($16.00), and reported the flavor was very good, but the cream sauce was a bit heavy. My brother-in-law Woody ordered the special halibut ($32.00) and raved about the texture of the fish and the savory flavor. Another 30 minutes later my brother-in-law Eric’s Salmone al Griglia ($19.00) arrived. His fish was also done to perfection.
Gnocchi Al Pesto:
Salmone al Griglia:
By this time my sister Stephanie and I had almost given up on ever getting our entrees. Our waitress had been extremely apologetic all the way along, but when she came into our room empty handed we were sure of it. She again apologized and told me the kitchen had run out of gnocchi and would I like a different kind of pasta with my gorgonzola sauce. I ended up with penne:
Steph and I were finally served a full hour after the first entrees arrived. Steph had ordered the Penne Pomodoro e Basilico ($11.95), and after the Gnocchi Pomodoro arrived she was pretty worried her dish would have the same tomato sauce. Luckily, it was different enough that she liked it, but it wasn’t anything to rave about. My gorgonzola sauce was quite good, but again very rich and I didn’t end up eating all of it. We didn’t stay for dessert.
This meal, as celebratory events go, was pretty disappointing to say the least. I’m lucky that my family is very laid back, and we still had a good time being together devising ways to escape our little room. The person I really felt bad for though was our waitress. She was the only person we talked to all night, and I have to give her a lot of credit. However, although they didn’t charge us for our two extremely tardy meals, we never talked to a manager or host. That seemed very strange to all of us.
I would also like to note that the prices I’ve listed here are what we were actually charged. You may notice a difference between the menu prices listed on the web and what I’m reporting (both for more and for less!). With wine (and two comp’d meals) we spent $320.00 and the unanimous opinion (and regardless of the kitchen problems) was the food just wasn’t good enough for the price.
I can’t say I would never eat at Michelangelo’s again, but we won’t go back anytime soon. I’ve always heard you should stay away from a new restaurant for three months after it opens, and maybe this should be the same advice for a recently moved restaurant.
3010 South Higland Drive, 84106, UT