Raw garlic in my pasta.. yuck!

Joined May 11, 2001
I was about to cook my Southern Thai-Style Fried Catfish that I had been looking forward to making and eating all week when the power went out! Bad storms going through Illinois last night. I waited 15 minutes but it didn't come back on. I had nothing to eat except leftover beet salad, but I didn't feel like peeing pink for another 3 days. What was I to do? Well, I really wanted a decent dinner, so I ventured out into the torrential downpour that I had no business driving in and went to a recommended local Italian restaurant, Tuscany.

I ordered a cup of soup since I was soaked by the time I walked in from the parking lot and the soup was okay although tasted somewhat like canned broth. I ordered a side salad which turned out to be mostly iceberg with a gloppy dressing, but that wasn't the worst part of my meal. For my main course, I ordered a Linguine with Seafood in a Spicy Tomato Sauce (can't remember exact menu name something Fra Diavolo). It came out looking quite good: lots of seafood (prawns,scallops,mussels and squid). There were,however, lots of suspicious small white bits. I took my first bite and my suspicions were confirmed. Raw garlic! I think the chef watches too much Emeril and believes Emeril when he says "30 or 40 cloves." Strangely enough though, it also had the bitter taste of burnt garlic (I've burnt garlic enough to know what that tastes like). Maybe the chef thought one would even out the other? I generally hate to stir up a fuss and call attention to myself, especially when dining alone, so I just pushed as much of the garlic aside and scraped off the sauce from each piece of seafood and told my waitress and the hostess that my dinner was ok. I probably won't rant about it now except that one of my co-workers came in with her family just as I was getting ready to leave. She ordered something else but had the same problem with the garlic. She actually told her waitress why she hardly ate any of her meal and she got hers free! Now I feel stupid since I spent over $20 and I only had water to drink!

P.S. I also had a very bad tummy ache most of the night.
Joined May 6, 2001
I have never eaten at Tuscany (and now I don't think I will). Have you tried La Sorella? Maureen Egizii is the chef there and she teaches classes in tuscan cooking on occasion at the college where my husband works. The restaurant is semi-casual and the service and food are great. As far as Italian food in Springfield goes, it's my first choice. :)
Joined May 11, 2001
I have yet to go to La Sorella for fear that it doesn't live up to expectations. I've heard so many good things about the restaurant. However, I had already decided to bring a couple of friends to dinner there when one of them comes to visit from Thailand in a week or so.

I was tempted to go last night but I was wearing nylon track pants and a t-shirt. I know most restaurants in Spfld are fairly casual, but I know that many people go to La Sorella for their special occassions and I didn't want to ruin their dining experience.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Good discussion, Risa. I usually speak up when things aren't right, but on our anniversary in June, I didn't. Now I regret it. At a local restaurant owned by a well-known (and highly-regarded) chef, I had what I felt was a mediocre meal. I am certain there was margarine on the table. The food was oversalted and the flavors otherwise flat. We spent around $100 (we don't drink much at all). Somehow I felt as though I would have attracted more attention than I was comfortable with that night, even though I take pains never to cause a scene.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
I don't regard speaking up about a problem in a restaurant as making a scene. I think it's all in the way you do it. My mother is like you Mezz she'll never say anything. Me on the other hand I will speak up, I'll even speak up for her. I don't see what she should eat unsatisfactory food when you pay for it.

I feel that done politely the staff will be happy to change your plate. In any case it is in their interest tomake sure you'll like your meal or you won't go back.

There are time though when it's not worth it. Guess we each have to decide that for ourself.
Joined Oct 15, 2000
There is nothing worse than burnt garlic. I would rather eat raw pork.
Joined Aug 12, 2000
I wouldn't have sent it back, though I might have said something. It's obvious they don't know what they're doing. They probably couldn't prepare any substitute I'd like. Undoubtedly they consider this to be part of the recipe they have carefully developed. A lot of people equate Italian cooking with excess garlic.

Roasted garlic went through a trendy phase there, and was much overdone. I had corned beef hash at a restaurant that put roasted garlic in the homefries (NO!) and added corned beef hunks to make their hash (a crime against the best of traditional American cuisine).

I have seen the dehydrated-and-toased-then-reconstituted garlic in a jar for sale in the supermarket, and imagined it tasted only like burnt garlic. Could be they're using something like this. Probably they think they're doing something daring and creative by combining garlic in this way.

I wouldn't go back unless I heard they hired a new chef.
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