Disappointing Italian meal at Arcodoro in Houston
5000 Westheimer Rd., Ste. 100
Houston, TX 77056
2/5 maggot-looking Sardinian teardrop pasta pieces
In our defense, John and I did not choose to go to this restaurant. It was not on my original list of restaurants to try during HRW 2010. It was a friend’s farewell dinner, and so we ended up at a stately table in a private room with 13 other people.
- Carpaccio di Manzo al Pesto di olive – Cured Carpaccio of Angus Beef Tenderloin with Black Pepper and Sea Salt, Served over Chopped Romaine Heart and Cherry Tomatoes, Leccino Olives and Sundried Tomato Pesto Dressing
- Gnocchetti con Sugo di Maiale e Ricotta Salata – “Malloreddus”, a Traditional Sardinian Teardrop Pasta Served with Pork Shoulder Ragu and Aged Ricotta Salata Cheese
- Tiramisu Cioccolato – Chocolate Sponge Cake, Topped with Layers of Mascarpone and Ladyfingers, Finished with Thin Cracked Chocolate
- Crostini di Melanzane e Mozzaralla di Bufala – Paesano Bread Crostini Topped with Roasted Eggplant Mousse and Melted Buffalo Mozzaralla, Served over Arugula Salad and Fresh Fig Balsaba
- Paella Sarda – Sardinian Style Paella made with Fregula Pasta Simmered in Homemade Lobster Stock with a Medley of Seafood, Calamari, Clams, Mussels, Shrimp, Scallops and Saffron
- Seadas al Miele – Traditional Sardinian Puff Pastry Filled with Sweet Cheese, Lightly Fried and then Drizzled with Sardinian Bitter Honey
Sounds tasty, right? Let’s see about that.
Arcodoro started out strong. I enjoyed the carpaccio: a mix of thinly sliced cured meat complemented with the tart tastes of the vegetables. I only had a bite of John’s first course and found it rich but delicious enough. (I preferred my dish, however, and so didn’t waste time nibbling on his.)
But then came the incredibly disappointing second course. Three people at three different times commented that my teardrop pasta looked like maggots. I didn’t mind the spongy texture, but if that many people said it reminded them of maggots, then shouldn’t you rethink serving it? Who wants their customers to think of nasty bug larvae while dining? To make matters worse, the dish tasted like it came from a can: the pork shoulder was crumbly, and the sauce was nothing special. John’s paella (which I already knew would be a mistake) was not at all like the paella of our Barcelonian honeymoon. Granted, maybe Sardinian paella uses pasta instead of rice as their main ingredient, but the prawn was cold and the clams overcooked.
Arcodoro redeemed themselves slightly with their dessert. I thought the tiramisu was light–not too heavy with the liqeur nor cheese, and the chocolate atop the dessert was deliciously bittersweet. John’s dessert tasted like a lesser quality beignet.
Accompanying our meals were one iced tea and one Jameson on the rocks, running our HRW bill to $104! You bet we were pretty pissed. John and I don’t really believe one should pay top dollar for Italian food, so already we were peeved. And while we know HRW menus don’t usually display the best dishes of that restaurant, we thought the venue should still put some thought and care into what they choose to serve during HRW since there will be many newcomers, and if their first experience is ruined by an unimpressive meal, then you can bet those people won’t ever be coming there again. And that definitely applies to us–John and I will never go to Arcodoro again.