Friday, November 20, 2009

Old Spaghetti Factory

Last night, a friend took me to dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory in San Jose, CA. Within the first moments of our dining experience, I saw a number of red flags. The first: the ambiance was a combination of “Irish Pub” meets “The Olive Garden”. The second: a random guy approached our table with a laminated sign for a request for donations (scary) – we watched a band of Old Spaghetti Factory employees escort him out, which made me imagine what one might experience at a Popeye’s Chicken franchise. The third: I’m fairly convinced that our waiter was tapping dubies during his 10 minute breaks. And the fourth: their menu seemed dry and uninventive. Red flags aside, I was satisfied with the results of the dishes we ordered.

While I wouldn’t remotely consider adding the Old Spaghetti Factory to my “top 20 list” of premier dining venues, the food they served was above average and our ever-so-stony server was honest in his recommendations. We ordered sliders (with caramelized onions – quality that exceeded the higher-end establishments I’ve dined at), the crab ravioli, and a fettuccini alfredo. The sliders were actually far more favorable than thoses that I’ve tried at more popular South Bay establishments, like Joya (Palo Alto) or Sino (San Jose). And while the pasta was just slightly undercooked, the flavors were unexpectedly agreeable.

Food aside, I could have done without the “happy birthday” sing-a-long the servers performed at near-by table and I prefer my servers to maintain a certain level of sobriety – and if he was lucid, my semi-apologies…

For the food-snob I am, I probably won’t be making a second appearance there anytime soon, but the Old Spaghetti Factory just proves that new experiences can be worthwhile.