One of my favorite things about Richmond is the Ed Vasaio empire. I genuinely enjoy 99% of the food I’ve had from 8 1/2, Mamma Zu, and Edo’s. They are staples in my eating out scene.
And I’ve had plenty of conversations with other local food-lovers about all the negative aspects of the aforementioned spots as well – abysmal service, over-salted food, and even legends of drug abuse among staff have definitely affected the dining experiences of more than a few people I’ve spoken with.
All I can say to that is, “Oh well.”
Personally, I’ve experienced service at both Edo’s and Mamma Zu that ranged from decent to outstanding, even a little special treatment from some friends employed at either establishment, which never hurts the ol’ ego.
And to be honest, even if their service was as bad as people say it is, I would still patronize all of the places I’ve mentioned because, goddamn, that scungili, that eggplant parm, that lamb shank…they’re worth a little ‘tude. I consistently champion hospitality in the restaurant industry because it’s part of my nature to be hospitable, and I hold others to a similar standard and because it was drilled into me in culinary school. But service isn’t why I go to a restaurant; food is – even food I can make at home…because sometimes, I’d rather not.
SRB: Spaghetti with Sausage, Ricotta, and Broccoletti
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked according to package directions/common sense
(toss the cooked spaghetti in 1 Tbs. olive oil while working on the other components)
1 lb. Della Nonna sausage (from Sausage Craft,) or some other delicious sausage
8 oz. broccoletti, blanched, cooled, and roughly chopped at 2 in. intervals
1 Tbs. minced garlic
4 oz. whole milk ricotta
8 oz. marinara sauce (I used leftover Pizza Tonight bounty, but feel free to make your own.)
salt and pepper to taste
Assemble all ingredients. In a large saute pan, heat 1 Tbs olive oil. Add crumbled sausage, and cook through. Drain off a little extra sausage rendering if necessary before adding the broccoletti.
Saute broccoletti and garlic for about 2 minutes, or until cooked through and totally yummy-smelling. Add cooked pasta, ricotta, and marinara sauce, and cook for another minute or two just to incorporate everything together. Season to taste.
*I also had a little store-bought sausage left in the larder, so I went ahead and threw it in as well. Using two types of sausage, however, embraces a level of gluttony that I can’t, in good conscience, condone. (DO IT.)
Serve with a little arugula salad and bread or these delicious ‘Pizza Bones,’ made with leftover pizza dough that I rolled out thin and baked for 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
How important is restaurant service to you? Does good food make up for bad service? Does good service make up for bad food? How many chances will you give a place before it’s ‘Ciao!’?
Speak your piece. Leave a comment!