I've said it before but it bears repeating: I do this blog because I genuinely love breakfast. I love everything about it. Big or small. Rushed or lazy. In the morning or for dinner. Fancy or simple. I just really like food. I like eating food. And enjoying the experience of going out for a meal. And I like sharing that experience on the internet. So when I have an experience that is not what I wanted it to be, it really bums me out.
I know what I like. But I recognize I am not a gourmet chef or food critic. I am also no expert on how to run a restaurant, but I did work in them for 10 years. I've spent a lot of time on both sides of the table in places that range from dives to downright classy. So I have a respect and appreciation for how sometimes you just have days that are sideways no matter how hard you try to bring it around. Sometimes shit just happens.
I also know that brunch is a tough thing to do. A lot of breakfast foods are fussy to make and your timing needs to be impeccable. Doing brunch service requires a lot of effort, and in an industry that is really heavily driven by dinner and late hours, getting up early on the weekends can be a slog.
All that is to say: I get it. And that I recognize having a less than stellar experience somewhere is often not a reflection on how a place is at their best.
A long preamble to say, I don't think we got the best version of Rinaldo's when we went.
We arrived about 10min after opening on a rainy Saturday. There were two other tables when we got there—a table of two and a table of three. We were greeted by friendly staff at the door and sat in a cozy booth.
My first complaint is going to make me sound like the most pretentious asshole in the world. But here we go: I ordered a cappuccino with almond milk, and our server brought me one with soy milk.
Guys, I get it. #Firstworldproblems. And could I be any more of a bougie yuppy. But come on, soy milk is gnarly, right? There's a reason why I specifically asked if they had almond milk. Our server apologized and I ended up getting a tea instead. Whatever, really not the end of the world.
We placed out order and then we waited. And we waited. And we waited. And waited some more. The whole time only two more people came in. So what I'm saying is, it was fairly quiet. We waited well over 30min for our food. I expect a wait when it's busy. But when the entire dining room tally is still in the single digits, I feel like it could have been a little quicker.
When it did finally arrive, it looked great. I went for the four cheese pizza which said it came with eggs on the menu. Not sure what I was expecting, but it was like a baked egg type of situation (which, could have also contributed to the wait time, because that shit takes awhile to set when you cook it). Picture a very, very shallow quiche with a layer of cheese, but on pizza crust not pastry. It was ok, but not what I was expecting.
I do need to say the cornmeal crust was the stuff dreams are made of. Good god. I ended up eating most of the crust and leaving the middle it was that good.
The man friend got the porchetta hero and a side of hashbrowns. He devoured both because they were so delicious.
I should also mention the whole time this was going down, the table directly beside us was having their own brunch related debacle. While I can't speak for them or their experience, from what I did overhear they weren't having such a great time either. So there was some solace in knowing it wasn't just us, and also more confirmation that it was just an off day all around.
We eventually had to just go up to the counter to pay as one of the five servers who were working were nowhere to be found for quite awhile after we were finished. I did get a Boston cream donut to go, because what am I, an animal? And I can confirm that it was dangerously good.
All in all, I feel like I need to go back to have a second experience here. If the pizza crust was any indication—not to mention the rave reviews I have been hearing from others—there is some next-level potential for the food. Chalk this one up to an off day and bad timing.
I'll be back, but maybe not for brunch.