My dinner at SoBo Café needs two scores. These guys earn high praise for food and terrible marks for service.
For starters, we couldn’t get a reservation until close to 9pm, even though the dining room was completely empty when we arrived about 8:30pm. We were greeted promptly and asked about 3 times in 3 minutes by 3 different people about drinks. That’s where the attention stopped. There was a small snafu in one of the entrees; they brought us the wrong one. That wasn’t the main problem. They proceeded to mishandle the situation. It took 15 minutes for her food to finally come out. The closest thing to an apology was the server offering to buy her a drink. Although, she ran away immediately before anyone else could get a word out – so we became those girls who ordered one item at time.
The food was astounding; so good I won’t let that botched service deter me from dining again. We started with a couple of appetizers.
Apparently, one of their standout menu items is the Mac-n-Cheese. This version was completely vegetarian. The cheddar cheese melted into a luscious cream sauce mixed with tomatoes. Chef uses a tubini style pasta (longish tubes without ridges, and straight ends) rather than the classic macaroni. They bake this after adding a crunchy crumb topping. This is delightful and I will probably order it again. I might add a little crushed red pepper or something spicy to balance the richness.
My friend Jamie loved the Roasted Squash Soup. This is a ginormous, filling bowl of smoothly pureed squash topped with bacon crumbles, a pumpkin seed pesto and a sprinkle of cumin. I think she was set on ordering that before she even decided on her drink.
I also split the Duck Confit Salad. This was a little confusing for me. The beets were roasted perfectly making them tender and sweet. The duck was lovely: rich and gamey, yet still succulent. The duck and beets were combined with walnuts, Great Hill blue cheese and topped with some fresh frisée and a pomegranate vinaigrette. I liked each of the components on their own, but did not find the salad to be a coherent dish.
For dinner – the splitting of dishes continues. We went with another vegetarian dish – Pumpkin Agnolotti. I liked this pasta dish – not as much as the pumpkin pasta at Sotta Soppra. The agnolotti is a stuffed pasta like the ravioli, but is usually folded over on one side. The chef stuffed the fresh pasta with classic slightly sweet pumpkin flavors. They toss it all with roasted squash, mushrooms, and crushed pepitas (pumpkin seeds). The whole dish is drizzled with a bay leaf butter and a little balsamic vinegar. Yums.
Jamie loved the Chicken Piccatta, once it finally arrived to the table. Chicken was incredibly full of flavor and juicy and went perfectly with the potatoes and haricot vert.