2 1/2 Golden Spoons
I had such high expectations for this restaurant, located in Rome’s most luxurious and prestigious hotel. I was even more excited as we had cocktails in the lounge two nights in a row with spectacular bar snacks prepared by the chef. However, when we decided to actually have a full dinner at Brunello, the experience was less than disappointing. We were seated in a much too brightly lit dining room at a table with barrel chairs too short to eat at the table properly. We needed pillows on our seat and behind our backs just to be able to sit up. Bad sign of design.
We almost walked out at this point, yet were so impressed by our server, Sylvia, that we pressed on. The menu was intriguing. A long list of specialties including a unique authentic country style selection. Prices ran from about $25-$35 for starters with entrees in the $30-$50 range. Definitely on the upper end.
For my starter I chose fried prawns with squash blossoms stuffed with cod and cheese with a dark beer mayonnaise. The presentation was lovely, but the plate was chipped. The squash blossom was very nice, but the shrimp was mushy and greasy and the sauce was minimal and flavorless. Robert had the spinach omelette which was presented as more of a large frittata. Fine, but nothing special. He didn’t finish it.
For my entree I selected the duck breast in a berry sauce with carrot purée. I asked for the duck to be medium rare. It was extremely over cooked and the sauce was runny, greasy with duck fat, and oddly tart, which could have been a good thing but it missed the mark. By the way, I forgot to mention that my Martini showed up with two olives and an old mint leaf. I thought it might have been intentional but it was an accident at the bar. My drink was not replaced.
They simply a took away the wilted leaf. But I digress, I couldn’t eat the duck. It was so tough and chewy that it wasn’t worth the fight necessary to macerate this foul fowl dish. I told our server who was surprised. We asked for the bill so we could actually go somewhere else for dinner.
The bill was $250+ for what was a less than average diner meal. I only gave it 2 1/2 stars for the service and prior bar snacks and the honesty of our server who told us that the chef was not working that night and that the second chef was in charge. Perhaps this explains the second class experience.