Kosher Fusion

Why is good seafood such a rarity on the Beach? Donít ask. Just eat.

Just a few pasta dishes appear on the regular menu, but a one-page insert lists additional nightly noodle specials. Rigatoni puttanesca, one of the permanent offerings, featured thick ribbed cylinders tossed with tomatoes, onions, and black olives, as well as uncustomary peas, sun-dried tomatoes, and far too many half-moons of artichoke bottoms — all in a smooth and creamy tomato sauce. Puttanesca generally contains hot peppers, capers, and anchovies, but it was a satisfying if not traditional rendition.

Desserts are few and filled with chocolate: a gigantic wedge of dark chocolate-coated three-layer chocolate cake with cherry cake in the middle, and a flourless dome of chocolate cake with a molten center. Both are rich, sweet, and sided by a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Another visit brought tiramisu in place of the molten dome. The hefty square of cake touted more cream cheese than mascarpone, but was fresh and permeated with alluring espresso/cocoa flavor. Although it's large enough for two, $9.95 is still a lot to ask. Can we ask that as the dessert menu grows, nonchocolate selections be added?

It doesn't require more than 10 seconds to remove a piece of tiramisu from the fridge and dust it with cinnamon powder, yet it took 15 minutes for the cake to arrive. Our waitress explained the kitchen was backed up. There were only three other occupied tables of four in the restaurant, two of which had already been served. Shortly before the tiramisu showed up, the third group was brought its entrées — meaning we had been waiting for the kitchen to prepare four dinners before our one dessert got plunked onto a plate. This delay suggests the kitchen is understaffed and/or mismanaged — it's difficult to say which. It's easy, however, to note the lack of sufficient workers in the dining room. On our visits, there were only two waiters and one talented, hard-working manager on the floor. The servers were amiable, and hustled to pick up the inevitable slack, but they were further handicapped by the lack of a busperson. At times it took so long for our plates to be cleared that I half-expected to see mold grow on the leftover food.

Joe Rocco

The restaurant opened only two months ago, so kinks in service aren't surprising. The chef needs to sharpen his focus on specificity of ingredients, and also tweak the side dishes, but the food is solid and the ambiance inviting. You really don't need to be Jewish to enjoy Fusion 41. To be patient, though, wouldn't hurt.

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