On the road again . . . what up foodies! Ya girl took her talents to Burlington, New Jersey for Italian eats. The lovely Micheline Bowman invited me on her “Meet Me Monday” winter edition tour to IL Portico Ristorante Italiano on January, 15. I was so elated and appreciative of her choosing me to do the job. After much consideration I happily accepted and cruised up 95N to Jersey.
IL Portico Ristorante is an Italian restaurant located in Burlington, New Jersey. Before arriving, I was able to choose from the pre-fix menu that was provided if you chose to eat upon arrival. Let me back up . . . Meet Me Monday is an opportunity to network, bond, socialize, eat and drink with a group of people and have an overall good time. Entrepreneurs and influencers of all varieties come to showcase their products at Meet Me Monday. Below is the pre-fix menu that diners were able to choose from:
House speciality Caesar Salad
Mista Di Stagione
Mediterranean tri – color tossed Salad
Homemade Chicken Parmesan with penne pasta
Homemade potato pasta homemade tomato sauce
Baked filet of fish with bread crumbs and fresh oregano
Penne Con Zucchine e Broccoli
Penne pasta in a puree of zucchini and broccoli
Homemade Dessert Sampler
Once we arrived at the restaurant it was time to eat before the networking segment began. My phone was unfortunately dead, so I sat at the bar charging my device. Let me tell you I am so glad that I did. The ambiance of the dining area is very outdated with dim lighting throughout. The wait staff were catty, overwhelmed and rude all while serving this group. Call me crazy, but I did not smell anything that was coming from the kitchen and I was just a few steps away from it. Well, aside from the couple across the bar that ordered chicken fingers & fries (go figure). You could smell the salt coming from the plate . . . YIKES!!! The items above that I ordered are bolded and quite disappointing.
The Insalata Cesare was good I might say. The greens were properly dressed, tomatoes were juicy and firm and plenty of crunchy croutons to give it texture. Next, the Pollo Parmigiano presentation was horrible, thinly sliced melted cheese, the sauce was lacking and if my memory serves me correctly it was not presented like the other plates that came from the kitchen. My plate looked as if the cook tossed it on the plate and said “it’s ready!” It lacked seasoning and it was dry. I did my absolute best to give it a try, however I didn’t want to order from the menu to further disappoint myself if they couldn’t even get this simple dish right! I opted to eat another salad in lieu of dessert and on that go round it wasn’t good either. The salad was overdressed and the tomatoes were soft and mushy.
After surveying the room, everyone seemed to enjoy SOME of their meals while others enjoyed other items from the restaurants menu. I should have done the same to get a better outcome for my blog review and taste buds. I did have an interesting conversation with the owner/manager of the IL Portico Ristorante on my visit. I explained to her my dining experience and shared some of my concerns. Diners should never hear the complaints of staff in the front of the house, especially you ma’am. I heard a few inappropriate comments that came directly from your mouth as well. Those frustrations should be expressed at the end of shift or once the restaurant is closed. Telling me that you were unprepared doesn’t constitute piss poor performance. Especially since you were privy to a food blogger coming along on this trip and the food blogger witnessed everything that made her experience unforgettable. You don’t get a pass for attempting to shift blame on the host. I’m most certain that you weren’t notified 3 days prior to the event that a large group was coming to dine at IL Portico Ristorante . . . sorry not sorry!
According to Yelp, they love it. Fat Girl N’ Motion . . . not so much! The excitement I had surely went out the window once the food arrived. I did however enjoyed networking with others, listening to the sweet sounds of London Savoy and sipping on bubbly until we departed. Thank you Ms. Micheline for this awesome opportunity. I had an awesome time. If you are ever in the area give them a try as your dining experience perhaps may be better than mine . . . happy eating!
IL Portico Ristorante
273 W Route 130
Burlington, NJ 08016