Sometime last week, things in my apartment went haywire. Through no fault of my own, I currently have no use of the plumbing in my kitchen and bathroom. It's a long story, the facts are unclear and the relationships of the parties involved is complicated. Since it's not my fault, you can imagine that I'm thinking of all the remedies that are owed to me. One of them of course is reimbursement for my meals.
I figured I'd keep things local since I've been on a Harlem World kick these days. I went to Bettolona with the highest of expectations considering all the hype surrounding its fall opening. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to expectations. The restaurant is tastefully decorated (save the Christmas lights adorning the front) and it has a neighborhood feel that makes you want to spend hours in there. The server brought an extra chair to our table then displayed the chalkboard with the specials.
Cute. But nothing appealed to me. The menu had some great options and I was def looking forward to the meal. We started out with a simple Caprese.
Fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil. It was fine. That's right just fine. Nothing remarkable whatsoever. I was a little disappointed because I definitely wanted more than just fine. Although he had a hard time deciding on an entree, the Spinach Fettuccine was apparently a good choice.
It was mixed with sweet sausage, peas and tomatoes in a cream sauce. I'm not one for the cream sauces and certainly don't do (non-poultry) sausage but I must admit I had a little food envy when I saw green pasta. My Gnocchi was perfect.
The little bite size pieces were soft and melt in your mouth good. Unfortunately, the sauce was way too tangy. How tragic. Such perfect gnocchi should not have to share the plate with such subpar sauce. The presentation was also disappointing. The plate was so big and the portion was so small. It was also drowning in the sauce. I really wanted to try the pizza but my fear that they would be using the same sauce prevented me from ordering.
While Bettolona certainly didn't live up to my expectations, it was still a decent meal and I can see why people might choose to go there. I still really want to try the pizza so I may return. For those in the Columbia area this is probably worth the short walk and it won't do too much damage to your wallet. There are a couple of more established Italian restaurants in that neighborhood but it's clear they cater to a crowd with a more refined palate. Eventually Bettolona might get on their level, for now know that you get what you pay for.