I don’t know why I go to restaurants that have become trendy except that every so often I still get sucked in by someone else’s review of a place such as Ado at 796 Main St. in Venice where the old Amuse Café once was. We read on the Chowhound blog that this place was amazing and went there last night with two friends.
First of all, the place is charming and sweet, like sitting in a private house with cool ocean breezes wafting in the windows and friendly professional service.
After that it went down hill a bit. The chef is the same guy who cooks at Piccolo, which is one of my favorite restaurants in Venice. But the food here is nothing special. We all had appetizers; three of us ordered their special of fried sardines which were lovely but the portion too small for the price at $14. My friend had a soup of pureed fava beans that was nice but the grilled squid that it came with seemed to be non-existent.
Three of us ordered pasta, which is their signature dish as they are very proud of it being homemade. I have made pasta a hundred times and let me tell you it is not only easy but very inexpensive, after all it’s flour, olive oil, egg and water, so how is it that they charge $17 for that with a handful of vegetables tossed in? I think in order to charge almost $20 for an entrée of flour and egg there needs to be fabulous sauce and some ingredients other than zucchini and tomatoes. So this was my dish and I thought it tasted fine, but the portion was small and the sauce, a walnut pesto, seemed more like a butter sauce to me. My friends all had pastas that were not as described and we felt the pasta was a bit thick and chewy. If your star dish is pasta, I say it should be perfect.
My husband had a veal chop that was served with a cherry sauce, nice but once again not memorable. We split a chocolate soufflé for dessert that came with a basil sauce, which we enjoyed and I would say was the most well done item of the evening.
The best thing about the place was the wine list (we had two lovely bottles) and the charming host who was warm, friendly and typically Italian, hugging you before he left, as if you were old friends.
All together I would say Ado is a trendy spot that will do well due to its charm and location, but I for one would not be returning to have another meal there.
For those of you who would like to make your own fabulous pasta dish, this one is not only simple but tasty and inexpensive.
Amanda Cushman is a culinary educator who has cooked professionally for 25 years. She teaches privately for groups of two to 20 students. She has developed hundreds of recipes for cookbooks as well as food magazines and Web sites. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.