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February 14, 2002
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Piero's Trattoria

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I’m not one to kick someone when they’re down, and I root for the underdog as much as the next guy, but as long as we’re knee-deep in cliches, I might as well call a spade a spade (rather than be forced to use one), and let it all hang out about a consistently disappointing Italian restaurant. Now I don’t use these words casually, but sad to say, no eatery falls down more on the job than Piero’s new Trattoria.

When the Fog City Diner closed at this seemingly jinxed location I said it was “too hip for the room”; since then, this sleek retro-modern space has been vacant, under unnecessary re-construction for like, forever, then home to the atrocious Freddie G’s, and now it’s the last resting place for the reputation of what was once a respected name in local restaurants.

Now the real Piero hasn’t had anything to do with Piero’s for about twenty years, and the predictably so-so food at the original location is as tired as ever. But take heart you lover’s of bad bread and muncho marinara…. The offerings at the new joint are even worse. Quantity over quality seems to be this kitchen’s mantra….and under-seasoned and bland the best adjectives I can muster to describe chalky gnocchi bolognese, by the numbers minestrone, seemingly meatless meatballs, and an ugly (and tasteless ), chicken paillard salad. What little taste my scampi on a skewer had was spoiled by a rancid one, and the bocconcini and bread salad okay, but nothing you couldn’t make at home for one sixth the price. I’ve had spoiled wine and rotten beer at the bar, and saffron sauces with no saffron on the ravioli. All of this is cheerfully and professionally, served by a waitstaff that is blissfully unaware of how awful everything is.

The crowds don’t seem to mind either…as long as its swimming in red sauce, they will come. …. So who am I to criticize? Therefore, I’m highly recommending Piero’s Trattoria to all you lovers of bad italian-american food out there - or olive garden where at least the mediocrity is consistent….. The rest of you have been warned.

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