Two more days until I depart for Italy!
So that I could have one last American Italian fast-casual meal before it’s ruined forever, the manpanion suggested tonight that we go out to dinner. Richmond is pretty limited in its food selections, and we went to a chain Italian restaurant that l’ll call Oh Geez for convenience. This entry is not so much a restaurant review as it might serve as a comparison point for fare in Italy.
- The Oh Geez Salad. Drowning in dressing, the iceberg lettuce had as much flavor as nutritional value—i.e., zero. The accompanying onions, black olives, and tomatoes had basically the same texture and taste as the lettuce, and it seemed like the salad had been pre-made, soggily waiting for its intended table.
- Oh Geez Ravioli. I ordered Portobello mushroom ravioli, nine squares of pasta envelopes drizzled with a creamy cheese sauce and dotted with a few chopped tomato pieces for a bit of color. The dish is usually pretty good, but tonight the ravioli filling was rather dry and the pasta felt like it had been sitting out too long after cooking. The cheese sauce glistened with oil, which seemed incongruent since the raviolis were so dry.
- Oh Geez Pot Pie. The manpanion ordered a “pot pie Italiano.” I won’t lose sleep looking for this particular dish in Italy because I don’t think it exists past American junkfood shores. The menu said it was made with ziti, meatballs, Italian sausage, and a combined meat and cheese sauce until a flaky crust. Based on what little I know about authentic Italian food, meatballs don’t go directly onto the pasta or in the sauce; rather, they’re served separately. The name of the dish refers to a “kitchen sink,” and when I saw the plate, I could only imagine the scrapings of food from a big dinner in the drain trap.
- Oh Geez Bread. This restaurant’s bread is super salty and buttery. My belief that bread needs to taste like bread is apparently a radical idea.
- Oh Geez Wine. I first sampled a head to head red Tuscan red blend (yes, red is in the name twice), but it tasted like cork—this, despite the bottle having a screw-top lid. I sent the sample back and asked for a Moscato instead, thinking a nice sparkly drink would be refreshing. It was a better choice than the red red blend, but it was pretty flat.
In sum, my American Italian dinner was oily, dry, salty, and flat. Maybe my heart wasn’t in it as I anticipate June in Italy. I simply can’t wait for authentic Italian food, and I won’t promise I won’t be a food snob upon my return.