Pasadena, Dec. 17, 2011—WHERE TO EAT tonight; always the same question; where to eat tonight. Five of us, varying demands and desires, Saturday night, eight o'clock theater curtain.
The old friend who is coincidentally a food professional who we'd met for brunch thought it over and finally recommended a chain restaurant. Apparently Pasadena really does have a dearth of good restaurants. (I have my favorite, but the rest of the party won't agree; besides, Tre Venezie takes time; it's not best for a theater night.)
So we wound up at Il Fornaio. I had a decent small green salad with a simple balsamic vinaigrette; then a plate of tagliatelle in Bolognese. Or so promised the menu. Lindsey thought the sauce acceptable, though in need of the promised Parmagiano that never appeared. I thought it quite lacking in depth.
Bolognese requires beef, beef stock, and flavorings: carrot, thyme, wine, onion — I list these in random order, as they occur to me. Olive oil, of course. This Bolognese may have had many of these things, but it had another thing no Bolognese should know: water. It was thin and lackluster, and, sorry Lindsey, I don't think the addition of grated Parmesan would have offset its basic blandness.
Nero d'Avola•Il Fornaio, 24 West Union Street, Pasadena; 626.683.9797