Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Times Square, NYC
Review by SuSu

For those of you who'd been following along, you're aware I'd attended culinary school, and that I'd been assigned a couple of partners during that time. Generally, you did stuff on your own, but some procedures were worth meting out since you only have 5 to 6 hours. I was blessed with two very different and wonderful partners, whom I hope to keep in touch with for a long, long time.

To that end, I was having lunch with Partner#2, and when we were trying to decide where to go (you can imagine that eating with a fellow foodie is bad enough ... but eating with a semi-professional is more interesting. I'd decided that the food along is not enough of a reason to visit a restaurant with the likes of Partner#2. Why did we choose Culinaria? Because Partner#1 had garnered an internship there, and the owner was a friend of the guy who owns Trotters, where we'd had such a great time. We saw it as a "spy mission."

It's a nice enough place, tucked away just off of 7th Avenue. The tables are far enough apart, though the waiter placed us clustered together with others. And he told us the specials in an rather unappetizing manner (which we pointed out, and he later amended "balls inside balls" to "ricotta wrapped in mozarella"). He was friendly enough, but very unattentive throughout.

We ordered octopus carpaccio, monkfish with asparagus polenta, and agnolotti (lamb ravioli). The octopus was shaved very thin and was rather tasteless, the monkfish and the agnolotti good, though I did find the asparagus polenta rather overdecorated. I tried to order zeppoles, the waiter directed me to apples in caramel -- again, shaved and fanned out on the plate. The zeppoles were heavy with ricotta, not really what I actually envisioned. The cinnamon caramel ice cream garnish was nice, though.

It took us ages to get our check, then the waiter didn't come back to pick it up. I ended up walking up to the bar and handing it to him.

All in all, Partner#2's assessment was "There wasn't anything wrong with the food at all, which is not really a good assessment." She's right. We paid $80 for two for lunch, and for that, the service should have been better, the food could have been better, and Chef Vincenzo should have at least pretended that he knew who we were talking about when we introduced outselves as friends of his friend ... Overall, disappointing, and we hope Partner#1 has a better time in the kitchen than we did in the dining room!

You know when you can feel something is wrong about a place? And then you're right? It's not as satisfying as you'd think it is. I wanted this place to be good, for many people's sakes, but the food was okay, the service was blah but friendly, and later on that day the BIG BLACKOUT of 2003 occured. Omens? Oh, yah! This place didn't have a chance. And if God so unloves you this much, best pack it up and go home. Which Chef Vincenzo did, back to Italy, where he is a "famous and talented chef." Riiight ...

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