39 Main Street N,
The term "al dente" is an Italian expression to describe pasta, rice, and even vegetables that are cooked to a firm but not hard texture. So if you haven't made the connection, today's post is about Italian food. From just the address listed above, one might think that this restaurant is located in the romantic historic gem of Unioniville. Well, I know I did at least. Turns out this was on Main street Markham, and not Unionville (who knew there was a difference?). Being a bit lost, I called the restaurant to ask for directions only to be greeted by an abrupt and rude lady. Aside from repeating the address she made no effort to help me navigate my way there. She sounded impatient and just wanted to hang up. Not the best first impression.
We found our way there, and I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the area. The restaurant is located in the historic Markham Village, but was in no way comparable to the atmosphere of Unionville. It didn't seem as lively and not as much of a tourist attraction. I guess that's why I was pleasantly surprised by the way Al Dente looked both inside and out when I first saw it. Really cozy yet classy. This is probably the last positive comment I will make for the remainder of the post.
Al Dente Restaurant from the outside
Let's start with the service. There were about two servers on the floor, which at the time were sufficient becuase the restaurant was no where near capacity. Surprisingly, a majority of the customers there were chinese. The server that was ultimately responsible for our table ended up being the same lady who "helped" me over the phone earlier. She had the same attitude while serving us and taking our orders. Very impatient and snappy. Several food and drink items that we wanted to order were out of stock, and instead of making suggestions for something to order in place of it, she just stood there with her eyebrows raised expecting you to have already come up with an alternate order. When I went to ask her about the difference between two different veal dishes, she said "the sauce" with no additional commentary. I thought to myself "No kidding eh? I couldve read that off the menu." Definitely not the service I expected from a classy restaurant that it portrays to be.
Robert Simpson beer
We ordered drinks before deciding on the food menu. They ran out of Stella, so instead we ordered this Robert Simpson draft. My beer enthusiast of a boyfriend says was a good pour, and a light tasting beer.
Literally 5 mins after ordering, our food arrived. Three entrees and a basket of bread, all at the same time. Leads me to think everything is pre-prepared and was microwaved.
"Grilled Veal" ($24.95)-Grilled veal scallopini with roasted red peppers and mushrooms, with a red wine balsamic sauce
From the picture alone, you could tell that there was minimal attempt for presentation with this dish. Usually this isn't an issue if the taste compensates for it, but this dish did not have that either. The ingredients were fair, and the veal was actually cooked quite well, but the sauce completely ruined it. The sauce was extremley sour and overpowering, and tasted like I was drinking worchester sauce.The worst part is that they gave you so much of it, and so everything was just swimming in it. Unappetizing in almost every way.
"Papardelle" ($23.95) -Wide shaped fettuccine with shrimps, scallops, baby spinach in a lobster brandy cream sauce
The pasta in comparison was much better, but definitely not the best I've had. The noodles were cooked perfectly al dente (no pun intended...) and had a sauce with a good creamy consistency. I would've liked to see more than 4 pieces of seafood, but at least the ones served were of a decent size.
"Bruchetta" ($5.95)-Garlic bread topped with fresh tomatoes, pesto, olive oil, and baked with mozzarella cheese
Somewhere in the middle of our dinner we decided to add an order of bruchetta because literally every single other table that was there did so. We wanted to make sure we weren't missing out on a good thing! This is probably the best thing we ordered all night. You can probably notice it's made using the same bread as the ones that came with our meal, but it was topped tomatoes, spices, and a generous heaping of cheese. There is nothing too fancy about this dish, and quite frankly it tastes like bruchetta I would make at home, but it was simple and delicious. I guess it was a good way to end of the meal, but I don't know if it would be enough for me to come back again.