I want to first start this post with some background about the restaurant selection process for who I choose to write about on the blog. For the majority, my reviews and write-ups are “pre-planned” in the sense that I go to the restaurant intending to write a blog post about that particular visit. There are some occasions or experiences that I just want to sit back and truly enjoy without having to think through how I really feel about what I am eating or take the time to take photos. This is not to say that I haven’t had some terrible dining experiences on these times out that I chose not to write about. I also go into all food experiences extremely optimistic. This is just purely my personality. I have a huge passion for food; so the prospect of trying something new or reliving a past gratifying experience at a restaurant is always exciting. The problem arises when I go into a meal with the intention to do a write-up and the experience does not meet that overly optimistic expectation that I had walking into it. I never like writing a bad review. Just like people have bad days, I also believe restaurants can have one too. I don’t want to sum up one bad experience as the end all be all. However; I also believe in being honest and if I didn’t share how I truly felt then there would be no credibility to writing about food. Simply put, not all food is created equal. That being said, I think reviews are simply opinions and unless a repeated pattern of bad reviews tells otherwise (if there is a string of bad reviews about a place, there is a reason) than it should be taken with a grain of salt.
I say this all as a disclaimer to what I am about to write about a recent visit to a new restaurant, Parm Centro. Parm Centro is the new Italian kid on the block swimming in a far too large pool of Italian cuisine in Morristown. This didn’t stop me from wanting to try it! As always, I was SUPER excited to dine somewhere new during Morristown Restaurant Week. The restaurant was offering 15% off your bill for anything on their menu rather than setting up a pre-fixe dinner. I thought this was a smart move for a new establishment to allow customers to try anything on your regular menu rather than limiting options. We made our reservation and went out for a pre-dinner drink next door to the restaurant prior to our meal. We ran into an old friend which caused us to be 8 minutes late for our reservation. By the time we arrived our table had already been given away. I know that our tardiness was entirely our fault however; it can sometimes take up to 30 minutes just to find parking in Morristown so being 8 minutes late didn’t seem too belated. We very politely asked when they could seat us next and we were informed it would be about 15 minutes. The host took our phone number and said they would call us as soon as something opened up. When nearly 40 minutes later we still had heard nothing we walked back to the host stand where we were ignored for another 10 minutes. They had clearly forgotten about us. When we were finally seated, nearly an hour and a half after our original reservation, we were provided with bread that was warm and delicious at its edges but yet close to freezing at its core. We were not off to a good start.
Our first course of Zuppe de Cozze e Calamari alla Puttana (Mussels and calamari in a spicy tomato broth) had very fresh seafood but it was paired with an over-salted sauce that it was to the point of my mouth puckering with some bites. Our main courses both were well past overdone. My fiancés potato gnocchi were nearly the consistency of mashed potatoes and my handmade tagliatelle could certainly not be considered al’dente. If they had not be over cooked their may have been some redeeming flavor factors for the meals. Was this the worst Italian food I’ve eaten? Certainly not, but it was far from being at the top. It wasn’t even the food that truly tipped the scales on this evening for me. It was the truly the service. After our meal there was even a slight slip-up with taking our restaurant week discount. The service was spotty at best throughout our entire evening.
If I base my return rate to this restaurant on this one experience is would most likely be close to none. You would think that during a restaurant week situation is where the restaurant would be on their “A game” to try and win over new clientele. However; this restaurant is in its infancy and I’m sure is going through its shares of bumps and bruises. As I mentioned above this review is solely on my one experience at this new restaurant. I’d like to think that I will give them the benefit of the doubt and try again as a good control measure. I won’t be chomping at the bit to complete this exercise but everyone deserves at least a second chance.
…all for the love of the dish