F&F: il Matto

July 2nd, 2010 by Dick Johnson

PX This presents THE F&F REVIEW

Hey, sorry we couldn’t make it to "Friends&Family," we were out of town/ had to work/ not invited. We’re really glad we finally managed to come by, though— it’s so nice to see you!
What’s that? You would still like us to take the time to fill out the F&F survey, because you’d love to take advantage of all our vast experience, knowledge, insight, and expertise as long as we’re already here? Because you invited 75 people to F&F, and afterward all you got was 41 "Congrats[es]!" 22 "Awesome[s]!" 3 "Ciao[s]!" and 9 "Best of luck[s]!" ?
Of course, we’d be honored. Oh ha, yesss, we’ll be honest— brutally honest even, ha ha! After all, that’s what friends & family are for!
No no please, don’t send anything more, we’re stuffed, we can’t breathe, you’ll have to roll us out of here, ha ha ha… !


il Matto

What was your first impression?
Huh. This is… different.

Please rate the Bar:
The bar itself? Is a little odd. But maybe only because when you’re sitting at the "bar" that just looks like the bar and is located across the bar, but really is actually a dining counter, you can get a bit confused. So basically, from where I was sitting, which I thought was the bar, which was not actually the bar, the actual bar looked pretty good. I guess.
Except the seats are very poorly built and a wee nonsensical.

Please rate the drinks/ cocktails/ wine:
Well, apparently the fancy shmancy cocktails already got some hoopla in some sort of newspaper, so I was already warned about their fancy-shmanciness. So, I suppose I wasn’t disappointed!
Pretty creative presentation all right, and the recipes are somehwat intriguing if you’re the type that’s into that sort of thing. Me— I’m a vodka/rocks kinda guy— so the genuine rock in place of my "rocks" was uh… amusing at best. (Vermouth "soaked" rock, huh? Squeeze some blood out of that thing, then maybe I’ll be impressed.)
Otherwise, A for effort! Or maybe A-, because all that rigmarole is expensive (app. $15 per drink).

Please rate the Dining Room:
Is it finished?
No really, I’m really truly not quite sure whether all that exposed plywood on the banquettes is intentional or not. However, considering the poor design of the bar/"bar" stools, I wouldn’t be surprised.
So, yeah— it’s… different. Not exactly the design choices I would make personally, but hey. I didn’t have to pay for it— and diversity is what makes the world go round! Right?

Please rate the BOH:
I admit I don’t know anything at all about the chef; I didn’t bother to do any research before or after my dining experience. But if I had to guess, I would say it’s probably a true-blood Italian trained in French culinary techniques. Am I right? Did I win?
There’s a lot to appreciate about the menu, and certainly the artful presentation, but the execution could maybe use just a little more time and/or work. The potential is definitely there; it’s the conception that might need a tad more revisiting. If I said anymore than that, I’d need a consultation fee.

How was the staff?
Good. Friendly, adept, and conscientious. Also, very European.

What did you eat?/ How was the food?
Baby Artichoke Croquettes : Very good. Easily my favorite of all the dishes I tried. Tasty, aromatic, rich in flavor but delicate. (But now in retrospect, I’m not sure whether it was good or bad to start, rather than end, on a high note.)
Steamed Octopus and Potato : Ah, a very Italian dish, but at this point I’m really starting to see the French coming out. Also very good, tender succulent octopus (especially for such a big old creature). The little bit of pesto turns out to be a nice touch. Eat it fast, though— once it cools down, not so appealing.
Pork Belly with Head On Shrimp and Chickpea Puree : Sounds weird, right? And yeah, it kind of is. The shrimp is tender but slight too salty (and for a salt lover like me, that’s saying a lot). But the pork belly is eh. Is it boiled? The flavor isn’t awful, but the texture is… not so good. Give me a great caramelized pork belly, and I’ll eat it ’til the pig screams for mercy. But not in this bizarre cube-like rubbery style.
Porcini, Arugula and Avocado Salad :Cold mushrooms? Bleeah. And the cauliflower, too— over-refrigerated. ‘Shame.
Tuna tartare : OK. Decent. Pretty to look at.

What did you like?
Those artichoke croquettes were slammin’.

What did you dislike?
The ambience is not for me.

What was your last impression?
People and their ideas…

Would you come back?
I’ll let you guess.

Thank you, and hope to see you soon!
Thanks, and best of luck.



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2 Responses to “F&F: il Matto”

  1. Dishwasher Says:

    Does anyone else find it weird that Il Matto had a glowing write-up in NY Times about the cocktails when it first opened and now they have a glowing 2 star review also from the Times???



    I smell biased journalism….. ;)

  2. Dick Johnson Says:

    Now that you mention it, that is pretty interesting.

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