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Dinner Talk: Zingari Ristorante

On Sunday (belated happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there, by the way) a homie and I made dinner plans for the last night of Dine About Town. As usual, it was my job to choose the restaurant, which was not an easy task as this particular friend happens to dislike all the foods that I absolutely love. I finally decided on some fine Italian dining at Zingari Ristorante just off of Union Square. I haven't had me some good Italian food in a minute and the menu didn't seem half bad. Plus, it was close to Muni, which meant I wouldn't have to drive and lose my rock star parking (always a plus in the city)!

So, I made the trek out to the financial district and was about 15 minutes late for our reservation. However, once I got there we were shown to a table without any wait. My initial reaction of the place was kind of... mehh. There were two different dining areas. I'm not sure what the difference between them was, but the side we were on was small and... well, boring-- no windows, no art, nothing to catch the eye (except some funky wallpaper pattern). I didn't get a chance to see the other side, but my guess is that it wasn't that much better.

On to the food. I did the prix fixe menu (which it looks like they do on any ol' night), whereas my friend stuck with one dish from the regular menu. I started my dinner off with a zucchini basil soup (the soup of the day). I'm not big fan of zucchini, but it was the most appealing antipasti on the menu. To my surprise, it was delicious. Creamy-smooth (although the waiter mentioned that no cream was used in it), light and very flavorful. I'd recommend it.

For secondi, I had the Rigatoni con Salsiccia (rigatoni pasta, Italian sausage, Grana Padano cheese in a roasted tomato cream sauce). Sounds pretty good, right? It was tasty, yes, but not as good as I thought it would be. Actually, the sauce was a little bland and there wasn't any salt or pepper on the table for me to remedy that. It was, however, well-proportioned. The serving size wasn't too big to the point where it just hurts after finishing the entire dish, but was just enough so that you're a nice-- what I like to call-- "happy-full." The ingredients themselves were also well-proportioned in the dish, which I appreciated. I hate when I don't have enough meat/noodle/sauce in every bite!

My friend got the Penne Pollo (penne paste with roasted chicken breast, tomatoes, lemon, rosemary, in a Pecorino cheese oregano cream sauce), which I found to be much more flavorful, but not as creamy as my dish. I'd recommend this instead.

For dessert, we split a slice of Tiramisu, my favorite! Sadly, I was extremely disappointed. My initial bite was good, but as we worked our way towards the center of the slice, I noticed that there was way too much cream and hardly enough ladyfingers. Not only that, but the ladyfingers were drenched, which completely threw off the consistency of the cake for me. We should have gone with the creme brulee.

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So, overall this dining experience was okay. On a scale of 1 through 10, I'd just barely give it a 7. Service wasn't that great. Not that anyone was rude or anything (not at all), but we got no love, for sure. We had to ask for water (and refills) two or three times and waited a while to get our check. Also, our waiter didn't tell us about any of the specials or about the menu the way I noticed other patrons were told. Ambiance wasn't impressive. The food was decent, but not worth its price in flavor (or presentation). Nothing rocked my socks, but I'd consider going back to try something else on the menu if I were in the area.