What this blog is about.

Finding excellent food and service is often a challenge anywhere. So much can go wrong. Whether it be the food, service, atmosphere or price. I admit, I am a food snob. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy simple meals as well as those I expect to pay top dollar for. However, I believe one should get what one pays for. I hope to be able to guide you to the best places to eat in the shoreline area.

I have found that the biggest challenge in running a successful restaurant is consistency. And, I recognize that all places can have an off day, Therefore, should I end up trashing a local eatery, I will extend a second chance experience. However, I think it is important to be honest with you about my experiences. It is not my intention to close local business. Hopefully, they will receive my reviews as creative criticism.

Please contact me via email with your comments, questions, and restaurant review suggestions. davidkosky@hotmail.com.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Alforno's - Old Saybrook

Alforno Trattoria and Brick Oven Pizza

1654 Boston Post Road
Old Saybrook, CT 06475-1600
(860) 399-4166

Price Guide


Alforno's has been around for about 20 years now. I first ate there back in 1998 and had a terrific experience. Since then I have dined there on many occasions and have always had wonderful meals. However, the last time I was there, until recently, was two years ago. In my description of this blog I write that the greatest challenge in operating a successful restaurant is consistency. Well, the streak has come to an end. I could not have been more disappointed with my dining experience.

I'm not even sure where to start. When we headed out to dinner I made the comment that I felt guilty going to a "sure thing" for my next review. The restaurant itself is very inviting. The decor is fresh and modern and gives the feel of being in a larger metropolitan area. But, the staff is lacking in providing a welcoming feeling. Often when I sense this I can only think that it is reflective of management. What also bothered me is that most of the staff was either eating near the bar, talking to each other or chewing gum. Only after I took out my notebook did we seem to receive better attention.

Alforno's menu is pretty extensive without being confusing. They have an extensive wine list with prices ranging from $18 to $140 a bottle. They offer many appetizers, six different salads, 16 pasta dishes and many entrees in the Florentine style. With entrees, they offer a small portion and a regular serving with prices ranging from $9 to $22.

Usually, I like to include pictures of everything we ate. However, this time I've chosen not to because it doesn't matter what something looks like if it isn't good. That is the case now.

To start, we ordered two appetizers. Veal Ricotta Meatballs, $6 and Tempura Zucchini Blossoms, $12. I was really looking forward to the meatballs. Well, as nicely formed as they were, they equally lacked flavor and texture. The Tempura was fresh and nicely cooked, but, as what would become the theme, lacked any real flavor.

Next came the entrees. As usual, I tried to be diverse in our choices. We ordered their staple, the Tagliatelle Bolognese, the Shrimp Scampi over Spaghetti and finally, a special, Porchetta.

Their Bologneses has always been amazing. However, this serving was so lacking I found it inedible. It is very hard to describe something that just doesn't seem fresh or inspired. A major disappointment at $13 for a small serving.

The Shrimp Scampi was even worse and my wife loves shrimp. While the portion size was excellent for a small, it was pointless. The shrimp were far from being a scampi. Just boiled and boring. Since the scampi is the main attraction to the dish, the rest was hopeless. Bland, bland, bland. Not only was the entree awful but mixed into it were stray pieces of chicken and different types of noodles. Makes you wonder about dedication to quality. $13.

When my Porchetta arrived I saw promise. Porchetta is a Roman roast of pork with fresh herbs, portabello mushrooms, pistachio nuts and shallots. The presentation was excellent but you can't judge a book...... The roast was so overcooked it could not be eaten. If you remember my description of the pork chops at Tiberio's, well this was the opposite. Ugh. $19.50, you have got to be kidding me!

Well, I could not just let this experience go. When the waitress asked how everything was.... I told her. To her credit she listened and seemed to really care. The majority of our meal was taken off the bill. Thank you for that.

I should say that we did not have any pizza. I have heard nice things about their brick oven pizzas and maybe I will go back just to try that. I have also talked to many people about Alforno since this experience as well as reading other reviews. What seems to be consistent is the complaints about lack of seasoning and flavor as well as the service.

Recommendation: Pass and go to Tiberio.

Alforno Ristorante & Brick on Urbanspoon