Optimistically Cautious

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Small on Servings and Service: Rigoletto's Cafe

A few friends and I had dinner at Rigoletto's Cafe (10068-108 Street) on Wednesday night. Extremely accessible, this Italian restaurant was located just off of the Corona LRT line.

The dining room was a dark, European-style bistro that looked from the furniture, carpeting, and lighting as if it hadn't been updated since the late 80s or early 90s. Luckily, we were seated underneath one of the few spot lit tables, otherwise, we would have been eating over a single-flame candle and not much else.

Though I admit it was my fault for a) ordering the small versus the large plate, and b) not ordering a less mundane dish, I was disappointed with my tortellini in cream sauce – its equivalent at Chianti's would have been several dollars cheaper and of similar quality. I had pasta-envy just looking at my friends' rigatoni, penne, and lasagna, which were easily three times the size of my selection. Earlier, when we had put in our orders, I had asked our server if we could have separate bills, to which he scoffed, and ultimately didn't even provide me with an answer. I couldn't help but get the feeling that my question translated into my ridiculously small serving.

For dessert, I ordered a latte and the chocolate mousse. My coffee was all right (I find I much prefer the sweetened, less authentic varieties available at chain coffee shops), while the mousse had obviously been pre-made and refrigerated - much too rich and dense, the consistency was closer to pot de crème than whipped mousse.

Lastly, the service was spotty throughout the night. They were extremely short staffed, with three servers attending to the entire restaurant (which was surprisingly busy for a downtown location on a random Wednesday). Although our waiter was quite attentive initially, by the end, we had to signal not only to order our entrees, then dessert, but also to request and pay for our bill (which wasn't, by the way, separated). I suppose Rigoletto's could be the kind of place one dines at for an evening of uninterrupted conversation, but I would have still appreciated the occasional check-in from a friendly server.

With the abundance of restaurants I have yet to try, I would be hesitant to return to Rigoletto's Cafe right away. But I do believe in second chances, so though the service received a failing grade from me on this round, I will allow for a retest in the future.

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