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Monday, September 27, 2010

Friday Date Night in the Warehouse

Feeling the need for an unpretentious Italian dinner this last Friday, my bride and I headed for Ybor City and the Spaghetti Warehouse. Their food reminds me of the long gone Maria's Italian Restaurant on West Shore Boulevard...a comfortable family dining experience.

It has been a year or so since we last dined at the warehouse and we were anxious to return since all of our past visits have been very pleasant and tasty...especially if you stick with the basics. Last night though proved to be a bit uneven, but the staff and management did try their best to smooth out the bumps in the road.

We started our evening by ordering a delightful bottle of Gabiano Chianti, a reasonably priced wine that pairs well with a simple pasta with marinara sauce. For an appetizer we split an order of bruschetta...small slices of toast with a very, very sparse dab of Roma tomatoes, garlic, and cheese. Next up was the ho-hum house salad. I say ho-hum because it is the same old boring mix of chopped tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. Oh, well!

For our entrées my dinner date chose the 15 layer lasagna while I went with the Trolley Stop - a grilled nine ounce sirloin with pasta and meat sauce. When our orders arrived, the lasagna looked an awful lot like the Chicken Parmesan with Manicotti.  When informed that this was an incorrect order there was a bit of mumbling and the manager said something about a mix up and almost immediately brought out the correct order. We were told to keep both the chicken and the lasagna and enjoy left-overs the next day. Well, alright then...if you insist.

The lasagna was delicious and while I realize that I am about to blaspheme here, the steak was tender, juicy, and very flavorful...and, so much better than one I had a few weeks ago at Bern's Steakhouse. What is up with that? My pasta could have used a bit more of the meat sauce, but I was getting too full to bother requesting more.

Out total bill came to $55.61 and we added a 20% tip. Our server did try. We did not get charged for the extra entrée even though we were charged for the higher priced meal that we didn't order. Anyone can have a bad night, so I will have to assume this was just one of those nights.

Oh, the chicken with manicotti did make for a delicious lunch the next day.

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  1. I am assuming you let the mangement know you were a food critic prior to ordering? Sounds like this was conveyed somehow. Your overall review gives a false sense of what a regular diner could expect!

  2. To Anon,

    The Oracle has never pre-announced our visit or status in any manner. We are not food critics, but regular people who like to dine out and write about our experiences.

    What wasn't mentioned in the review was our server's physical and mental condition. He was recovering from a severe trauma - you could see some of the scars and hear it in his voice.

    Maybe he should not have been allowed back to work, but was desperate for the money. His service was less than stellar, but under the circumstances it didn't seem compassionate or germane to include all these gory details in my review.

    Management was aware of the situation and I am sure would have treated a "regular" diner the same as we were treated.