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Karen Salkin Out to Lunch

         Restaurant Reviews and Commentary from Karen Salkin
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SAN GENNARO

While we all love the luxury of a meal in a restaurant, sometimes the convenience of take-out is what we’re after. Mr. X and I do this on almost a daily basis because neither one of us cooks and he’s not into spending the time it takes to dine in. So, I’m pretty much an expert in the to-go category.

I just had my third bad experience at San Gennaro in Brentwood, so much so that I had to sit right down and get my thoughts on paper, even though it’s the first day of March Madness (the NCAA basketball tournament), and I always watch every single second of it. How awful is this place to make me spend time my tourney-time on writing???

This wasn’t the only experience that was not good; it’s just the one that put me over the edge. Years ago, someone suggested it as a place to have pizza delivered from. So, I did. Not only was the pizza beyond not special, it was very expensive and the delivery charge was exorbitant, which they had neglected to inform me of when I ordered.

A couple of years later, needing an immediate place to pick-up lunch from, and having my only other choice in that area being the unbelievably pedestrian Maria’s, I made the mistake of stopping into San Genarro again. They were rude about my using their rest room while I waited, the place itself didn’t look inviting to dine in at a future date, and the food was once again disappointing.

Well, now it’s about another two years later, and Mr. X was picking up lunch. He was in that ‘hood, and I couldn’t think of a good place because I didn’t want to take time away from the games I was watching, to pay attention to food, so I erroneously ordered from San Genarro again.

From the very beginning, it was an unpleasant experience. The woman on the phone was rude and curt, and being that it was early in the day, there was no way she could have already been hassled. It was all she could do to tell me the choices for grilled salmon preparation. I ordered it for Mr. X, with broccoli only, as the side dish, and pasta with sausage and peppers for myself.

The food itself was just okay and though the portions were small, I would have chalked it up to yet another bland experience with them. But I asked Mr. X how much it cost, figuring $30 tops, at lunch. I had ordered off their website, and the pasta was listed as $9.95, with the fish at Market Price. Mind you, we order grilled salmon on a daily basis from all different restaurants around town, some upscale, some on the other end.

When I saw the bill, I almost had apoplexy. It was $46!!! For just the two dishes! That weren’t even especially good! With no salad or anything but a couple of chintzy pieces of rubbery bread. From a dinky little bistro-type restaurant! Mr. X, who’s the most generous guy I know and likes to spend a little MORE than retail, even said that he was insulted.

I figured he just got the wrong bill, so I called and got the rude woman again. Fun. She said the pasta was actually $13.95 and the salmon was--are you sitting down?--$28.95!!! For a little piece of non-special salmon, at lunchtime, no less. I can’t portray enough how offensive that is for lunch at a small trattoria. If I were getting it from Spago or The Grill, I’d expect it and know what I was getting into, but not from this place.

And she was totally unapologetic, which just made it worse. With everyone concerned about their home budgets nowadays, we would hope that restaurants would be fair and honest in their prices. Obviously, San Gennaro didn’t get this memo.

I’m a notorious baggie dog girl because it usually takes me three tries to finish one meal. Seriously. This teensiest of portions took me half a sitting. And the menu stated that it came on fettuccine, but this was just regular spaghetti. It tasted okay, but not even as good as the corner pizza joint in Brooklyn.

Mr. X said his salmon was good, but small. There’s a shock. And though I said just broccoli with it, there was pasta on the side. Hey, thanks to them for their attention to the order. Since there are places, such as The Main Course on Pico near Beverly Glen and The Italian Fisherman on Burbank in Studio City, which are not only delicious, but generous and reasonable, with polite personnel, to take-out food from, I guarantee that I will not be foolish enough to ever again have anything to do with San Gennaro. Now, if I could just stop this horrible headache that came upon me after I consumed their food, I’d be grateful that at least they didn’t poison me. This time.

1 PIXEL LIGHT GRAY
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