My mom and stepdad, Bill, visited in late August, right before school started. With all the hustle bustle of school starting (and sick kids that week), I didn’t get a chance to post a review of the restaurant we went to – Bazil.
Because Mom puts a high value on a restaurant’s atmosphere, I was leaning toward a restaurant on the water. And since we were bringing the boys, I wanted to find a place that had food and atmosphere appropriate for kids.
I chose Bazil because it’s right on Irondequoit Bay, and it has a big deck that overlooks the water. Although I hadn’t been there, I looked at the menu online, and it looked like it had something that everyone in our group would like. As it turned out, we were seated inside at a table with no view of the water, but the atmosphere was fine. It had that Tuscan terra cotta look that’s popular in Italian restaurants these days.
If you’re going to Bazil on a weekend, it’s helpful to know that while they don’t accept reservations, you can call ahead to get your name on the list of people waiting to be seated. We did that, and waited about 15 minutes for our table. While we waited, my husband took the boys to watch the ducks and swans swim in the bay. Mom, Bill and I had a drink at the bar.
When the waitress came to take our order, my mom asked, “what do you suggest?” This is her usual strategy for ordering in a new restaurant. I understand why she does this, as the staff is likely to know what’s good. On the other hand, it seems to put the waitress in a predicament, because if she recommends something the diner doesn’t end up liking, her tip could suffer as a consequence.
The waitress mentioned that the Marsala and Pomodoro sauces were especially good. Mom asked about Veal Marsala, and the waitress said it was good “if you like mushrooms.” I asked about the alfredo sauce and she said it was “rich.” Well, alfredo sauce is, by definition, rich – so I didn’t really give it much thought, and stuck with my original choice.
The food started with warm, garlicky, soft breadsticks. (That's Bill with one above.) Our table devoured them quickly.
Entrees at Bazil come with a colorful salad that is served family style. It included carrots, chickpeas, croutons, grape tomatoes, and a few other things. To my taste, the salad was underdressed. I don’t like a salad drowning in salad dressing, but I didn’t taste any dressing at all. This may have been more Mom’s fault than the restaurant’s. When we ordered, she had asked for the dressing “on the side.” This isn’t easily accommodated with the way Bazil serves the salad, so she told the waitress she didn’t like a lot of salad dressing. As a result, they may have used less salad dressing than usual.
I was in the mood for pasta and seafood, so I ordered Shrimp & Garlic Ravioli ($14.79). The menu said that it came with a half dozen shrimp, but I really had to sift through the thick alfredo sauce to find them. These weren’t jumbo shrimp – you could easily fit each shrimp on a quarter. The sauce was super thick, not especially garlicky, and studded with bits of something that gave it an off taste. I still can’t quite figure out those bits were – they tasted kind of like a sun-dried tomatoes, but with the crumbly texture of fake bacon bits. At any rate, it wasn’t a dish I’d order again.
Mom’s entree, in contrast, looked excellent. The Veal Marsala ($14.79) had a generous portion of sauteed veal that was served over pasta. It was smothered with fresh mushrooms and covered with a marsala wine sauce that smelled wonderful. I had a bite, and it was as good as it smelled.
Bill selected a pizza, which had a thin and crispy crust, and said he liked it. Tom had Meat Ravioli Marinara ($11.88 -- what is with the weird pricing?). He enjoyed it enough to have his plate refilled (the stuffed pastas are all you can eat). I don’t recall what the kids ordered, but there were no complaints.
Had I been there without Mom and Bill, who are not dessert eaters, I probably would have suggested that we split the restaurant’s special dessert – the funnel cake. The menu says the carnival-style funnel cake is topped with vanilla bean ice cream, caramel topping, chocolate shavings and whipped cream. It sounds like heaven on a plate to me. I may have to go back, if only to try that.
Have you been to Bazil? If so, what did you think of it?
When you are dining out, do you ask the wait staff for recommendations? Leave a comment!