Off the beaten path at Richmond and Chimney Rock, when this restaurant hit the scene a number of years ago, it got rave reviews in the local and even national press. In 1998, John Mariani of Esquire magazine named Simposio one of America’s best new restaurants. We had not been there in years so decided to give it another try. Not sure what has happened in the intervening years, but eight of us dined there recently for a business dinner, and only one person liked her meal. One diner went so far as to comment to her husband later that it was one of the worst meals she’d had in a long time. There’s a reason the place was practically empty, and we felt a need to apologize to our business guests the next day.
To lead with the positive, the non-complaining diner ordered pasta with meat sauce, not exactly a test of an upscale Italian kitchen, although she did say the pasta seemed homemade. And the caesar salad was nicely done, appropriately dressed with a garlicky, anchovy laced dressing, draped with a large sliver of parmesan cheese. They also did a good job with the cappuccino.
Now for the negatives — chewy, nondescript calamari served with the obligatory marinara and also curiously with tartar sauce (in an Italian restaurant?); a spinach salad topped with rotten smelling eggs that was sent back to the kitchen (no, Mr. Waiter and Mr. Busman, that smell was not the gorgonzola cheese; we know gorgonzola and that was no gorgonzola); bland veal, chicken, risotto and gnocchi entrees; a very nice veal chop ruined by a thin tasteless brown sauce with microscopic pieces of mushrooms; and overcooked halibut served in the shape of McDonald’s hash browns. We could continue but probably don’t need to … you get the picture.
5591 Richmond Avenue