Posted by eemilla on December 13, 2009
We ate at Pomodoros on a slow weeknight, and I have been hesitant to post this review considering how few quality, local options we have on the south side. The place was mostly empty, aside from a really subdued large party in the other half of the restaurant, and I believe someone may have been at the bar. After we had received our drinks, another table was set in the booth directly behind us, which irked me because of the number of empty tables. Aside from that, the service was prompt and attentive without any hovering.
My reluctance is the food. While it is not bad, I really feel pretty much everything on their menu could come down a few dollars in order to make the price match the quality. The saving grace of the meal was the appetizer special: sweet potato gnocchi. The gnocchi were delightfully fluffy, and the portion was good. They were served over a small bed of lightly sauteed spinach with a light garlic olive oil sauce. Our visit was partially encouraged by their $39.99 four course menu, but we couldn’t turn down the appetizer so we opted out. My roasted eggplant entree came with a salad so I opted for the caesar. The romaine was okay, but the dressing was sweet. When I asked about it, the manager said they make it in house with honey to make it a signature dressing. I would expect them to make the dressing in house based on the image they are presenting; my issue, however, is the menu states a classic caesar dressing not Pomodoros signature caesar dressing. We were also served warm bread and olive oil; the bread was crusty with soft interior.
Our entrees were good portions, and my roasted eggplant had a neat presentation with the fried leeks exploding from the eggplant base. The ravioli my husband ordered was fine, but the asparagus were terribly bitter and somewhat overcooked (serves us right for ordering a dish served with spring vegetables at the beginning of winter). He also felt it was oversauced, but he enjoyed pesto cream sauce itself as well as the ravioli. My sauce was again too sweet; it tasted like ketchup with smoke flavor added which brought to mind barbeque sauce. The menu states there were portobellas and feta, but I don’t recall either. Fortunately, the eggplant was served as a whole half piece so I could enjoy the dish while mostly avoiding the sauce. If I had liked the sauce the eggplant’s tough skin would have been a hinderance rather than a benefit.
Since the appetizer was so enjoyable, I decided to give dessert a try. I opted for tiramisu as I will not stop searching for a La Caterina Trattoria replacement until I have found one. While Pomodoros doesn’t come close, it does a good job. The chocolate sauce on the plate tasted like Hershey’s saccharin concoction (even though it is purportedly house made), but fortunately the cake and cheese didn’t share that flavor. I still wanted some bitterness from either the cocoa powder topping or preferably from lady fingers soaked in strong espresso.
The beer and wine prices are fairly steep; I didn’t feel impelled to order a liquor drink based on the beer and wine prices and the “martini” menu, and with a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, the wine has to be prestigious and dear. My husband convinced me to split a pitcher of beer as the pitcher seemed to offer the only reasonably priced option. It may have been a fluke of a small pitcher (although it looked like a normal sized pitcher), but we were only able to get three pours out of the pitcher. Normally one should be able to pour four pints from a pitcher of beer. Neither the server nor the manager addressed my complaint about the pitcher so I don’t know if it is a fluke, but when one does the math it seems intentional. A pitcher of Gaelic is $13.65, and the pint is $4.65 a pint. I’d be interested to see how a server would handle a party ordering a pitcher and requesting four glasses.
Nona Mia remains Asheville’s best Italian restaurant in both quality of food and price, but Pomodoros does offer a better tiramisu.