Friday, May 20, 2011
BOCELLI’S ITALIAN EATERY, WAYNESVILLE, NC
We were all understandably nervous about eating Italian in a mountain town in western North Carolina. So I made a scouting trip to check the place out before we committed. One of the owners proudly told me that Bocelli’s won first and second place in a 13-restaurant cook-off, even beating out our favorite restaurant, Chef’s Table. Both of Bocelli's winning dishes were available on their menu. Further, she explained, everything at Bocelli’s is homemade and fresh and they work hard to please their customers. The place was full. Who am I to argue with success? Besides, the place had a charm, inside and out.
Our party of four arrived to another full dining room, and people looked happy. We couldn’t wait to order.
For me, it was the #1 winning Yellow Tail Snapper topped with fresh seasonal fruit chutney, served over risotto with a side of squash and zucchini. If the chutney hadn’t been quite so sweet, and if the fish hadn’t been so smothered with it, this dish would have been enjoyable.
Mandy opted for Chicken Cacciatore with marinara-sauced spaghetti and said it was just okay.
David ordered Chicken Florentine Bocelli (boneless chicken breast, spinach, artichokes and feta cheese served over creamy fettucine florentine). It had absolutely no flavor, so we asked the waitress to bring some freshly grated Parmesan. It helped a little, but the dish was still disappointingly bland. There was a lot of pasta, but very little chicken.
Guy decided on Beef Ravioli served over penne bolognese with tomato cream sauce. There was too much sauce, not enough raviolis, though both the sauce and the raviolis were good.
All four of us left disappointed. For folks that are not from areas where good Italian restaurants reign, this restaurant might be a good choice. For us, it was not. Our trip ended on a low note. We said goodbye to Waynesville and headed home the next morning. On our next trip, we plan to stay in Asheville where restaurant selection shouldn't be a problem.