Sunday, December 03, 2006


Sapristi: We like it even though the food is sometimes just "okay"

FWJoey was recently given the option of being treated to a dinner of his choice by moi. A number of tempting restaurants came to his mind such as Lonesome Dove, Sapristi, Bonnell's, and Del Frisco, but ultimately FWJoey made his decision and that decision was Sapristi. Why? Because of the restaurant's chicken cordon bleu! This is a dish that FWJoey craves!

Sapristi is a charming restaurant located on Forest Park Blvd. While it is small, that is part of its charm. We thought we would make the evening's venture to Sapristi a double date so we invited FWAmie and FWMatt to join us. FWJoey and I have dined at Sapristi a number of times and we have had many positive experiences. There is something funny about Sapristi though...many people rave about it and talk about how wonderful it is and while I do enjoy it, I have not yet figured out what makes the restaurant so special.

Some say they like Sapristi because of the extensive wine list with many of the selections sold by the glass. I would agree that this is one of the most positive attributes of Sapristi. Others rave about the various Mussels that are offered. Again, I would agree that the mussels selection is impressive with several sauces to choose from; however, I would have to note that while the sauces are good, the mussels overall have been disappointing to me. The mussels have been smaller rather than larger and both times we have ordered them, there have been a couple of mussels that were not opened. This means they were not fully cooked or ready for consumption. It is not unusual for places that serve mussels to have a few closed mussels in the serving, but just because it is not uncommon, does not make it okay in my opinion - especially at a place that is well known for its mussels. I am a person who LOVES mussels so perhaps I am a bit hard to please. Do not get me wrong, the mussels are good - it is just that they are not anything special or memorable. There is nothing that makes me so "wow, those are great mussels." While this is how I feel about the mussels, it is obvious that others must disagree b/c almost every table in Sapristi on the nights we have been there have had some as an appetizer and seem to enjoy them immensely.

Instead of starting with mussels, we opted for a goat cheese tray ($5.50) served with little toast crackers and a small salad. The cheese was good, but again not memorable. It would be more enticing if the cheese were baked or jazzed up. If I just want to eat some cheese, I can go to Central Market and eat it at home. When I am at a restuarant, I want something that I cannot make at home. The crackers served with the cheese were way too crunchy. It took away from the flavor of the cheese.

As mentioned above, FWJoey's favorite Sapristi dish is the chicken cordon bleu ($17). This is no Schwan's frozen cordon bleu! This savory delight is a medium-sized chicken breast topped with brie and proscuitto wrapped in a lightly-fried batter. The entree is served with "so so" french fries and vegetables that did not get touched by FWJoey. The serving size is generous. FWMatt followed FWJoey's lead and also ordered the chicken cordon bleu. He too was impressed by the entree!

FWAmie ordered the pork tenderloin ($21) and thought it was good, but not great. She commented that it was a little tough and dry, even for a pork tenderloin.

I opted for the trout ($16) topped with pine nuts served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The serving was a generous two fillets and the presentation was lovely. The taste of the fish was good, but not memorable. I enjoyed the meal but there is nothing that will make me crave that dish. It was better than okay, but I cannot say I would highly recommend it. One dissappointing factor was that the fish did not sepearate from the skin very easily. I had to physically use my fingers to remove the bottom layer of fish skin. This was messy.

After we finished dinner, FWMatt ordered the chocoloate mousse and seemed very impressed with his selection.

The worst part of our dining experience happend after we had paid our check when both the server and the restaurant's manager made us feel rushed. The server came by and picked up the signed checks while we were still talking and shortly thereafter, the manager came over and starting clearing away our wine and beer glasses. As she cleared away FWJOey's beer glass, she gathered the silverware and dropped it into FWJoey's beer glass right in front of his face. We had been sitting there for less than 5 minutes after we paid our bill so it wasn't as if we were just pitching a tent at our table. When the manger cleared the silverware and dropped it into FWJoey's glass I was actually holding my handbag getting ready to leave. Her actions were so unnecessary.

Despite these actions after our meal and despite that our server had very little personality and offered no suggestions even when asked for them, we still like Saprisiti. It defintiely has its flaws and it seems like every time we leave I always say, "My food just okay," we still seem to return so Joey can have his chicken cordon bleau.

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