Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Leptologists Eat at Nicola

Paul: I gave you three choices for today's lunch. What did you pick?

Candice: Italian! Let's go to Nicola!

Paul: Good choice! It's more of a drive than 89 Fish & Grill, which was downtown and across from the Convention Center in downtown Columbus. We're on our way to Upper Arlington. But 15 minutes isn't too long to drive for a good lunch.

Candice: Too bad you took the wrong exit, and it takes us 20 minutes.

Paul: But you made me take the wrong exit....

Candice: Remember, we're not blaming anyone here.

Paul: Right. Nicola is located at the corner of Reed and Henderson. 15 minutes —

Candice: 20 minutes!

Paul: — from downtown Columbus.

Candice: We are welcomed by Speranza Bedalli, wife of the executive chef Nicola. She's busy setting up their patio.

Paul: She tells us that they are changing their lunch menu to feature some lighter spring fare.

Candice: Uh oh. They're changing their menu? This might be a moot review.

Paul: Well, let's see what they have anyway. The restaurant is divided into two sections. The more elegantly appointed section is empty. We are steered to the buffet section. It's dark after coming in from the bright light. We pick a table.

Soups and Salads
Candice: Quick service and fresh flowers on the table. I like the decor. The server assumes we are here for the buffet, but when we hesitate, she brings us menus. The buffet is listed at $9.25. The alternative is one of several panini sandwiches. We go with the buffet.

Paul: The buffet starts with salad, pasta salad, bread, and wedding soup.

Candice: Entrees are lasagna, rigatoni with meatballs, chicken. The vegetable is broccoli.

Paul: Desserts are either a brownie or bread pudding. I start with the soup.

Rigatoni and Meatballs
Candice: I try that as well as the salads. Don't ask Paul to eat anything with the word 'salad' in it.

Paul: Sorry, be it Jello salad, egg salad, or potato salad, I want no part of it.

Candice: Some food reviewer you are.

Chicken in Sauce
Paul: I do like a good soup. This isn't one, however. The wedding soup looks a lot like the soup I get from Meijer.

Candice: I don't eat gross stuff like that, Paul, so I'll trust you on that. It does have sort of an out-of-the-can flavor to it. The pasta salad is very good. The noodles are perfectly cooked al dente. The dressing on the green salad is also good.

Paul: The broccoli is tasty. Fresh, even though it's in a warmer tray. I find that impressive.

Candice: I can't determine the seasoning, but you're right. I like the distribution of cheese in the lasagna. But the noodles are too squishy.

Paul: I like the lasagna too. I don't notice the squishiness. I try the rigatoni and meatballs. I like the meatballs; they have a nice flavor. The rigatoni is chewy and the sauce on it is odd tasting. Not good.

Candice: The rigatoni is undercooked and the sauce makes the pasta inedible. The meatball is... adequate.

Paul: The last entree is the chicken in unknown sauce. Dry and not very good.

Candice's Plate
Candice: Ditto. Speranza is greeting everyone at their table. I like that. Paul: But we overhear that the buffet is indeed going away after next week.

Candice: Our review is obsolete before we even post it!

Paul: But we'll soldier on. How's the bread?

Candice: They don't make it themselves. Not too interesting. What's for dessert?

Paul: A brownie or bread pudding. The brownie is dry and chewy. It's literally hard to swallow.

Candice: It's Duncan Hines. I spit out the bite I took of bread pudding. It's gummy and horrid tasting. It looks pretty.

Paul's Plate
Paul: But it's all an illusion. So what do you think?

Candice: Decent lasagna and excellent pasta salad. Everything else is mediocre to poor.

Paul: I like the lasagna, and I think the meatballs are pretty good. You think they are adequate at best.

Candice: The rigatoni, chicken, and desserts are all bad.

Paul: I'm almost glad the whole buffet is going away. So was it worth it?

Candice: The seating was quick, the food plentiful, and the table service was fast. So it was worth the wait. The price ($9.25) was high for the portion of the meal that was actually good. That's just too much to pay for lasagna and pasta salad. So, it wasn't worth the price. Now as to being worth coming back....

Paul: I have mixed feelings on that, but the menu is changing. The patio looks like it'll be a nice place to sit and eat.

Candice: I concur. It is worth it, barely, to come back. Just to see the new menu.

Candice   Paul   

Worth the Price?
Worth the Wait?
Worth Coming Back?

Nicola on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Paul! I just approved your blog claim. Now your Urbanspoon profile picture is displayed on your blog page. You can upload a blog-specific photo if you prefer, and can change a few other blog settings there. Also, if you vote for a restaurant that you've reviewed on your blog, we now show your vote next to your post everywhere on our site.