May 2005 - La Caravelle (dt)
5.94 - 7, 6.5, 6.5, 6, 6, 5.5, 5, 5
The best of summer. No jackets, low humidity, cranberry-horseradish sauce over cream cheese, the Karnes back porch, and DP8 filling in the news of the past month and gearing up for another night out. After an hour, we wound our way to La Caravelle, as some of us guessed, at the Italian American Community Center on Washington Avenue Extension.
Up Side: The anticipation of dining at La Caravelle has hung over us since the beginning of DP8, the Karneses having tantalized us with the idea. And, now, the smell of Italian red sauce wafted into the lobby, signaling comfort food for our choices of the night. After we made it past the wedding banquet room ..., we were seated at a spacious round table, whereupon we started sorting out the menu of nearly 50 entrees and a dozen appetizers.
The décor is Italian but eclectic. Wood board paneling, with Italian themed pictures or paintings certainly filled. The restaurant, half-filled and later solitary but for us, was well lit, perhaps a little much.
The menu has something for everyone – chicken, veal, pasta, fish, and even a token steak or two. We started off sharing appetizers of shrimp cocktail (2), stuffed mushrooms, and clams casino, all fair starters for the evening.
These had been preceded by two bowls of garden salads, a satisfactory mix of greens, tomatoes, and shredded carrots, accompanied by baskets of garlic bread which were refilled later. Two carafes of Chianti for the six red drinkers, supplemented with a white zin and a pinot grigio comprised our liquor requests.
A fettucini alla Panna (DK), seafood combo (DT & KM), linguini portoghesi (TK), zuppa di pesce (DT & JA), scallops (TA), and peppers and veal (KM) reflected a diverse selection, and we diners chose pasta, rice or escarole for sides. Comments ranged from average (one?), good (most), and excellent (a couple).
Dessert was sampled by most – apple crisp, double chocolate java torte, parfaits, and considered a fitting end to the evening. Frangelica was dessert for our usual sipper.
Our wait person for the night, Odessa, was a competent server – friendly, quick with delivery, helpful with advice.
Price was average-high (90), although four appetizers and an increasingly common sampling of the dessert menu pushed the price higher than we might otherwise have gathered.
Down Side: ...
I’ve gushed about nothing but the night was a satisfactory delivery on all parts. Nothing ventured to top notch but no weak spots blemished our overall impression. In fact, our rating pushed this visit into our upper third.
And Ken’s coffee infusion was well tended to for the last half-hour.
-- renamed the Restaurant at the Italian American Community Center; 2007