Call me ignorant if you want but not until today did I realize that this place belongs to the same group as Al Dente which I frequent and consider it as one of my favorite casual Italian restaurants in town. The place is more spacious for one but the seating seems equally packed like Al Dente is. One thing I often hear from friends about Al Dente @ Soho was the bad service and I have to agree based on my past experiences of dinning there without ordering any wines. Yes, it is the order of wines
Arrived at Cenacolo around 12:30pm for lunch and the place was relatively empty so I picked a table near the wall because it was more spacious. The manager (I assumed he is because of his outfit) asked if I would like any drinks to start with and I replied "water is fine." He then continued, "distilled or sparkling? " and I replied "ice water is fine." He did not show any discontent or anything and smiled back at me even though I did not order bottle water. His simple smile is a big surprise and earn a big thumbs up for this review. I am sure all of you have experienced some unpleasant moments when ordering drinks, particular with water.
My friend and I ordered set lunches with the following items: (1) Soup of the Day - Cream of Broccoli, (2) Greek Salad, (3) Chicken Toscana, (4) Pasta of the Day - Mushroom linguine & (5) Some Pudding as dessert (more like carrot cakes)
(1) Soup of the Day - Cream of Broccoli
According to my friend, the soup tasted pretty good. Strong broccoli and butter taste. However, she raised an interesting question. With such strong or rich broccoli taste in a soup, how can the color of the soup remained white or beige? A good question indeed and I have no idea. If you do, please do let me know.
(2) Greek Salad
Just like any other Greek salad you can find everywhere. Portion wise I am surprised that it was pretty generous. Forgot to mention about the bread but then again just another garlic baked bread. I like it without the olive oil and vinegar because it has enough taste by itself.
(3) Chicken Toscana
My friend gave me a piece of the chicken toscana to try. Chicken Toscana is basically chicken breast stuffed with spinach. It was very good. The side dishes like egg plant and mashed potatoes were all hot off the plate and the stuffing / spinach goes really well with the chicken breast which was tender throughout. A well prepared dish indeed.
(4) Pasta of the Day - Mushroom linguine
The linguine was above average, not only was it al dente, it was hot which is an important factor for a good dish of pasta or for any hot dishes for that matter. Another reason I liked this dish they prepared was the sauce. I am not a big fan of tomato sauce because usually it is overly sour / citrus. The sauce here was rather sweet which I certainly preferred. Again, portion was generous and can certainly fill your stomach and give you a very sleepy afternoon at work. Just a warning for the potential food coma!
Some kind of pudding as we were being told but it tasted more like carrot cakes to me. An overly sweet carrot cakes soaked in syrup with caramel sauce on top. The ice cream did not help but exemplified the sweetness of the pudding / cake. Thanks, but I think I will definitely skip next time.
* Generous portions for all dishes
* Friendly Staff in general (but not very experienced for a few of them)
* Well prepared pasta and stuffed chicken, will to try other dishes next time
* Environment / Seating rather packed
* Small Tables
* Temperature Control (front door always remain opened)
* Overly sweet dessert