Il Cantuccio: Review

16 04 2009

I thought I was in an episode of Kitchen Nightmares and Gordon Ramsay was going to appear at any second when we went to Il Cantuccio in Northern Liberties. This BYOB has been on our list of places to eat for a while after reading mostly good reviews and we were sorely disappointed. 

We got to the restaurant at 6:45. There was one other couple finishing up who left at 7:00. From 7:00 until 8:00 we were the only diners, and it was quite uncomfortable. At 8:00, more people came but at that point we were about ready to go.

We had two waiters. One did not speak or smile and brushed against my breast whenever he put something down on the table–even after I caught on and tried to avoid him. His hair was greased more than the food, with a faux-hawk on the back of his head. Our other waiter was loud and obnoxious–picture Steve-O wearing a cheesy shirt and tie. He forgot the specials, talked on his cell phone in the middle of the restaurant, and asked me how to describe tilapia to another diner while I was eating. At one point, at the busiest time of the evening (seven people seated), he actually sat down with a single diner and ate his own dinner instead of paying attention to the customers.

Matt thought that the decor was one of the strong points, with the open kitchen and rustic tiles and brick. Superficially, yes, it was charming. But there were no tablecloths on cheap tables and when you looked closely, there was at least one layer of grit and grime on the walls. The service was awkward–Steve-O moved our dirty silverware around to serve our second course instead of just clearing it and bringing us new sets.

The food was fine and basic. Mostly it was slopped on a plate and similar to food I can make at home, with rosemary and basil and ground black pepper as the only seasonings.

The bread was the best part.  The pesto was creamy and fresh.  I couldn’t place the red dipping sauce–when I asked, our waiter told us that it was roasted red pepper, sundried tomato, and olive oil.

The Misto platter was the most visually pleasing dish of the evening, although not very tasty. 

The Vodka was disappointing.  I guess when the menu listed “(bacon)” after “pancetta,” we didn’t actually think that it would be bacon.  We thought it would be real pancetta.  But it was just plain ole bacon.  That’s just wrong.

My main course, Ligure, was a hot mess.  By this time I had already had a lot of roasted red peppers and I was really looking forward to the mushrooms.  Do you see many mushrooms in this photo?  You don’t.  Because there were only about five on the whole plate.  I also didn’t really need any more potatoes.  And I got them instead of what I really wanted: mushrooms.

My husband’s Toscana was really just a hamburger patty over a can of white beans.

We didn’t even stay for dessert or coffee and I would never return to this restaurant ever again.

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5 responses

16 04 2009
Adina Katz

Ewww, gross. I’m sorry you had such a disappointing experience. Do you ever read/write reviews on Yelp? I’ve found a lot of new and interesting places lately using that site.

16 04 2009
exploreandeat

I posted my first review on yelp today! On this restaurant of course. Overall the reviews are very helpful but mostly positive for this one. Weird.

10 07 2009
e

This place is known for its spotty service, which is too bad, because the food is usual pretty good. Although there is no excuse for the canned black olives on that misto plate.

10 07 2009
exploreandeat

True! Didn’t even mention the olives! I do think that if the service was better, we wouldn’t have been as harsh on the food.

16 01 2010
Leaps and Bounds « Explore and Eat

[…] April showers brought the beginning of Phillies season and events throughout the city, such as Sake Fest, and one of our first disastrous meals, which led to this scathing review. […]

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