It is that time of year again. Yes! Restaurant Week Fall 2013 has begun. Our first stop was Martorano's inside the Rio. A second location will be opening at Paris soon. Honestly, I never had much interest in dining at Martorano's until a couple friend's started to rave about the eggplant stack. I love eggplant and I had to try it. When I saw that it was offered on the $50.13 Restaurant Week menu it sealed the deal.
I made reservations for 8 o'clock. Our party of four was seated promptly. We were a bit surprised to find the dining room so empty on a Friday night. With only a few diners the music was too loud and so were the movies playing on the tv. It made conversation with our friends a bit challenging.
We got started with an order of Calamari ($18). It was tender but any crispness was lost from it being buried in chili sauce. I would've preferred to dip it. The longer it sat, it turned to complete mush.
They brought over their homemade mozzarella as a special treat, and it was was special! This was the highlight of the meal for me. The mozz was well seasoned with, olive oil and pepper flake. Inside was layers of salty prosciutto. Yum.
The eggplant stack was up next. It was beautifully layered with lightly breaded eggplant that was fried crisp, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and arugula. I had high hopes for this dish, but I felt it missed the mark. It was terribly underseasoned and I wished the arugula was basil. It might have saved it from being so bland.
As for the entrees, we sampled the Penne Vodka and Bucatini Carbonara. I had the carbonara, there was something significantly off about it. It lacked that luscious mouth feel and as it cooled it got gummy and off putting. To makes matters worse, a heavy hand of salt was added to this dish and the pancetta only made it worse. I tried Frank's Penne and it too was overly salty. His was inedible to me.
By the time dessert arrived I was dying for a sweet bite to refresh my palette from the salty sea taste that lingered. A cannoli and tiramisu were supposed to be the choices, but they had run out of tiramisu. Fortunately, they were substituting their NY Cheesecake. Thankfully, this was well executed. It wasn't overly sweet or rich. I enjoyed it.
Overall, it was an underwhelming experience even at a fraction of regular price. At least, we helped out Three Square Food Bank. I will add service was very attentive; No complaints there.