09/11/2017Novella's Italian Restaurant and Bar
I anxiously waited for "Gainesville, Georgia’s newest upscale Italian restaurant" to open; but I must report that my dinner party and myself were extremely disappointed with the restaurant.The disappointment begins by trying to find restaurant, which is difficult as the sign is rather small, hangs high near the roof, and not illuminated. The entrance is not inviting at all. There is nothing about the plain and nondescript glass door inviting that would want one to enter. Once inside the decor is somewhat reminiscent of an old NYC "Little Italy" restaurant. Brick walls show through patches of plaster topped off with an original stamped tin ceiling. A nice touch for those diners who have experienced Little Italy.After getting settled at our table my party of four was offered fresh garlic rolls. The waitress brought out two small rolls for the entire table. When we asked her about it; she told us we were supposed to cut the rolls and each person should have half a roll. At first, we thought she was kidding, but when she turned and left we realized she wasn’t. We split the rolls and I must tell you that they were quite good. We managed to get a small cup of their "gravy", as real Italians call the sauce, to dip the bread in It was very good.Now about the ambiance, one would expect that an Italian restaurant would have Italian music and Italian artists playing in the background. Not so. The background music was just soft contemporary music, tolerable but not what one would expect in an Italian restaurant.The Salad -The Caprese salad, which we shared, was very tasty with large slices of tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese, lettuce and a very fine Balsamic dressing. It was very good!The Main Course:-We ordered the following:Two Veal Picatta, Veal Marsala and Veal Osso Bucco. Here's where the real disappointment began. First the veal in both the Picatta and Marsala was quite thick and very TOUGH! The Picatta was served over spaghetti which was stuck and clumped together. It was obvious that the spaghetti had either been over cooked or left sitting under a warming lamp in the kitchen. Needless to say, it was unconsumable. The Veal Marsala served with mushroom ravioli, marsala demi-glace, seasonal vegetables didn’t come with any seasonal vegetables, the mushroom ravioli was just plain sliced mushrooms and lastly the sauce was very salty and very sour, too much lemon juice! Three of my party suffered though the “shoe leather” veal but were unable to enjoy the accompanying side. I had the Osso Bucco. The veal was very tender and seasoned perfect. However, the seasonal vegetables were conspicuously absent. The risotto was overcooked and it, too, was clumped together like paste; it was unconsumable.The Finale: - Since all of us were not satisfied with or had finished our meal, I asked our server if I could speak to the owner, but was told he wasn’t there. Wasn’t There, I thought. One would expect that during the “Grand Opening” that the owner would be in the restaurant greeting guests and inquiring about the dining experience. I then asked to speak to the chef and were told that he couldn’t come out and talk to us. I finally spoke to a manager. I explained our concerns and provide some feedback. She did listen and offered to take two meals off our bill. In my opinion, were still overcharged for four unconsumable meals; but being polite people and left with a bitter taste in our mouths.Getting our bill took forever, we timed it. It took ten minutes to get our check and another 5 minutes before our credit card receipts were returned.Realization:I know that this was just their second evening open and I’m hopeful that they, too, recognized some of the issues we experienced and will take measures to correct them. I may wait a couple of months and give Novellas another try to see if they’ve made any improvements. If not, I’ll write them off.