Wheat Bread, Chili Pepper Olive Oil
Soppresatta di Toscana, Biroldo, Duck Prosciutto with Mustard and Torta Fritta
Tagliatelle – Slow Cooked Rabbit, Porcini Mushrooms
Margherita – Tomato, Basil, Fresh Mozzarella
Banana Zuppa Inglese – Banana Cake, Crema Cotta Mousse, Peanut Brittle
Gianduja Budino – Chocolate Hazelnut Pudding, Candied Hazelnuts, Olive Oil, Sea Salt
Chewy Chocolate Cookies
Impressed by Alon Shaya’s eponymous restaurant, enough to move the John Besh protégée’s Beard Award winning Italian concept from “maybe” to “must” during a trip to New Orleans, it was obvious from the moment I walked in the doors that something was awry at Domenica in the Roosevelt Hotel – the hostess seeming completely lost when a table was requested instead of a bar seat…odd considering the fact that the space was less than 10% filled.
Greeted soon by a twenty-something server who seemed pleasant enough, water filled and recommendations made including some Happy Hour specials, the decision was made to begin with a platter of housemade Charcuterie, warm Bread soon to arrive with a bottle of unnecessarily spicy Olive Oil.
With perhaps a dozen total patrons present at ten past four, one table clearly having a good time though not so much as to distract others overall enjoyment, it was with minutes creeping by that I sat wondering just how long it could take to slice three Meats, the answer just short of half an hour which was clearly deemed inappropriate, apologies and “a bottle of water” suggested as an apology, neither of them necessary and truly an odd offer.
Eventually getting to taste the goods, all three Meats defiantly funky with the chunky Blood Sausage truly memorable alongside airy poofs of fried dough, it was out of the restaurant and down a long hallway that I was directed to the lavatory, returning only to find the table completely cleared despite leaving behind my camera and a souvenir from the Saints game on the empty seat opposing – the server claiming he had “gone looking for me,” though seeming to imply that dining and dashing is what he had feared.
Stating disappointment that the three remaining Torta Frita had beem removed, that generous bottle of The Mountain Valley Spring Water now arriving along with the Manager who suggested that she would ‘take care of’ the Charcuterie, dining progressed with a half-priced Happy Hour Margherita that was decent, albeit undersauced while ribbons of Tagliatelle were far more memorable amidst tender Rabbit and Mushroom Ragu.
Never offered more fried Bread, at this point a non-issue as a dessert menu offered several intriguing choices, the decision between Banana Zuppa Inglese and Gianduja Budino proved far too difficult, the Banana Cake-in-a-jar served like Trifle amidst Cream Cheese Mousse topped in Peanut Brittle while the thick Pudding was similarly presented beneath a layer of whip, Hazelnuts and Toffee.