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Seventies retro is back, but shouldn't be for food

Pricing at Andre's, one must mention, is unusually confusing. Lunch prices, for instance, are reduced but not uniformly; lunchers can save five dollars on chicken Andre but only two to three on any veal or pasta dishes. At dinner the menu advertises "side any pasta" at $2.75. However when we attempted to order a side of ziti broccoli, our waiter informed us that this, as well as any other pasta with ingredients that "take up a lot of room on the plate," was only available as a half-order, not a side. Okay. We ordered a half, which wasn't, at least not in price: As I learned only after checking the unaccountably high bill against the menu, a full order is $10.75; our "half" was $7.95. Additionally we were overcharged for "three half-orders" of the non-bulky pasta shapes that our waiter had seemingly permitted us to order as $2.75 sides. We did order these three sides, not realizing (since our waiter hadn't informed us; I found out by calling several days later) that pasta is supposed to come free with every entrée. What came was the included pasta -- along with a hefty bill for three pastas that never came, in any size, shape, or form.

Because personnel were all friendly, I'm assuming (and truly believe) that the erroneous pasta charge was merely petty incompetence, not dishonesty. But wine prices were inflated to practically the point of petty larceny. I realize that restaurants depend on wine markups, but doubling retail seems plenty hefty; at $24, our table's bottle of Buena Vista sauvignon blanc was roughly three and a half times what this very humble plonk costs at the supermarket. It was also charged as "open food" rather than as "beverage" -- a reckoning method that made no difference to me, since I figure tip on the whole check minus tax, but something that diners who tip on food only would find less straightforward than it should be.

Here's a place you can go retro and take a culinary trip down memory lane
Steve Satterwhite
Here's a place you can go retro and take a culinary trip down memory lane

Details

305-919-9962. Open daily except Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for lunch, 4:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for dinner.
16145 Biscayne Blvd, North Miami Beach

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Andre's wasn't awful. It was just a lot of money to pay for what was basically old-style Continental cuisine with a few genuinely gutsy near-Eastern, Italian, French, and Florida accents. Next time I want to go back to 1970 for a snack, I'll economize and rent a time machine.

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