A couple of weeks ago, Edmonton held its annual Fork Fest event, where participating restaurants prepare a set menu or select dishes of your choice for a price of $25 or $45. Over the two weeks (Sundays – Thursdays), I disappointingly managed to squeeze in one Fork Fest dinner, what with the cold weather, evening shifts, and changes of heart to prevent me from eating at multiple locations. On the last day of the event, Joe and I went to Sicilian Pasta Kitchen on the south side, as the downtown location wasn’t a part of the Fork Fest event. For some reason, I don’t recall ever going to either locations, yet there seems to be a lot of people who say it’s one of the best Italian restaurants in town.
The dinner for the week was a three course menu, set at $25. You could just one dish from each category: appetizer, entrée, and dessert from a set menu separate from their usual fare. In addition, bread and butter started us off, with the option of olive oil and balsamic, which I happily opted for. The bread was warm, soft and not toasted, and the olive oil and balsamic seemed standard to me. Nothing new here.
I chose the bruschetta con bocconcini as my appetizer, the same French bread as before, brushed with EVOO and garlic. It’s suppose to be topped off with fresh diced tomatoes, oregano, crushed chili peppers, and finished with slices of Bocconcini cheese and red onion then toasted. What I received (late, I might add; the order wasn’t put through properly) lacked in any sign of cheese, and a warm mush of a salsa on top of the toasted bread. The first couple of bites weren’t so bad, but by the second slice, the tomatoes had rendered the bread soggy.
Joe ordered the salsiccia con arrostito pepperone – sliced Italian sausage sautéed with roasted peppers and caramelized onions in a tomato sauce with roasted potato wedges. The Italian sausage was spicy, and the tomato sauce was well seasoned and well made. I didn’t mind the potatoes although Joe didn’t touch them. What was notable about both our dishes was the portion. Ridiculous portion sizes for an appetizer! I was getting full just from that.
My entrée for the night was a beef cannelloni with a tomato cream sauce. I thought the sauce tried to make up the lack of flavor of the cannelloni itself, and serving it luke warm was not very pleasing . I managed to eat one of three tubes of the pasta before calling it quits. It could have been worst, at least it wasn’t dry, but it could have been much better.
Joe’s penne al diavolo looked a lot better. Although I personally thought the pasta was quite thick, he seemed to enjoy it. And the description of a spicy cayenne cream sauce did not lie, the taste of cayenne over powered a lot of other potential flavors of the dish, including the grilled chicken and shrimp, which I didn’t get a bite of in my forkful, nor could I see clearly on the dish.
Trying to blow through the entrée and onto desserts in hopes of better things, I ordered the blackout torte while Joe ordered the red velvet cake. Again, nothing special and again, I did not finish the dish.
I think thus far on the blog, this might have been one of the most uninspiring meals I’ve had. Perhaps it was the set menu, or maybe a “C team” in the kitchen on a Thursday night, but I don’t understand why SPK holds such high regards with some of my friends. The only bright side I could see with the meal was the portions, and even so, I’d rather go to Chianti’s on a Monday or Tuesday to get my fair share of pasta. In my opinion though, I’d rather pay the extra few dollars per dish to get an outstanding meal versus a standard bowl of pasta. I’m almost tempted to say I’d rather go to Boston Pizza on pasta Tuesdays, perhaps turn myself into more of a foodie, as their most recent commercial advertises.Sicilian Pasta Kitchen (South)
805 Saddleback Road