Sorry that it has been such a long time since we have posted anything. Things have been crazy for both of us and there just has not been a lot of time to devote to the blog. We promise to try and get back into some regular postings, but it may be a whole before we can get more than one or two in per week. Just bear with us :-)
So, this past weekend we had occasion to drive down to Naples, FL for a conference that Allison was attending. We decided to grab a bite to eat before checking into the hotel when we arrived and OpenTable pointed us to EVOO Bistro.
Now, if you are not very familiar with Naples it basically shuts down in the summer because all the snowbirds return to the northern homes. Okay, it is better now than when I lived there in the late 80’s, but you could certainly tell that businesses were looking for ways to get customers in the doors… such as summer menu pricing at EVOO. The current summer offering is 2 entrees and a bottle of house wine for $35. You can also pick any wine on the wine list for half-price if you prefer. Not a bad deal at all.
So we started out, as usual, with some fried calamari which was absolutely delightful. Not very heavily breaded at all, perfectly tender and served with a mild remolaude sauce, fresh lemon and capers.
The menu is not extensive, but the choices all looked great. In the end we both settled on the salmon, cooked medium and served with bacon mashed potatoes and wilted spinach. The fish was just right, although a very small portion relative to the sides. The potatoes were interesting, with crumbled bacon stirred in. The spinach was nicely wilted without being completely crunchless. Even though I would have preferred more fish, this dish was very filling.
We elected to go with the house wine, a 2009 Coastal Vines Cabernet Sauvignon. Yes, the vintage was 2009! Let’s just say that we got our monies worth. It was not bad, but there was nothing in the glass except for grape juice for all intents and purposes. We knew that the house wine was not going to be great but it certainly could have been better.
Service was somewhat lacking. This was a Thursday evening about 8 PM. Yes, there were a good number of tables being utilized but the place was not packed by any stretch. Personally I think that there just were not enough servers for the number of tables in use. We easily waited 10 minutes on a couple of occasions for our waitress to come by, and even though our water glasses were mostly empty the entire time we had to repeatedly ask for refills.
The other interesting item of note was the fact that one of the chefs, whom I believe might have been the executive chef, had his family there eating. He spent more than a fair amount of time sitting and talking to them (which of course there is nothing wrong with at all) yet I only saw him speak to one other customer, and that appeared to be a regular as all of the other staff also spoke with him. Not the best way to earn repeat business in my humble view.
Bottom line is that the food was quite tasty and represented a great bargin with the summer pricing. The regular menu pricing appeared to be in line with a mid-level restaurant. The wine list was fairly thin, and somewhat over priced, but offered an appealing range of wines from around the world. Had the service been better we probably would have dined here again while we were in Naples.