Saturday, September 23, 2017


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Salvino Cucina Italiana is a place you will want to visit if you're in the mood for Italian.  The food is excellent.  The service is good.  There is no country music playing in the background.  I think I heard Italian opera, but it was playing so softly that I could barely hear it.  Do not fear the opera. 

The small dining room where we were seated was somewhat noisy.  There were a lot of people at a large table celebrating a birthday.  They were loud.  The waiters sang "Happy Birthday".

I'm not sure how to tell you where to find Salvino's Cucina Italiana.  It's located at 2917 Battleground Avenue.  You probably will not be able to see it from the road because it sets far back from Battleground.  Just know if you're near Longhorn Steakhouse, you're almost there. 

I've included a small map.  Don't pay any attention to all the places listed on the map because I'm not sure they're still in business.  Pull into the parking lot and drive towards the back and you will see it.

Don't feel bad, and certainly don't give up, if you have a little trouble finding it.  We got lost for about five minutes until Debbie called Salvino's and asked for directions.  We were only a couple of hundred yards away and didn't realize it.

We arrived around 6:30 PM with no reservations, but were still seated immediately.  Salvino's web site makes no offer to take reservations, so we rolled the dice and just showed up at the start of prime dinner time on Friday night.  The gamble paid off.

This is our waiter, Kevin.  Kevin looks like he should be named Mario.

Kevin spent several minutes talking about the specials that were not on the menu.  We had already decided by looking at the online menu.  We let Kevin give his spiel and then ordered.

One of the things that sold me on trying Salvino's was its web page.  It is clean and simple.  One page with the restaurant name, address, phone number, and a slideshow of some food items and another page with the menu.  That's it.  No trash.  Just a simple and easy to read and understand list of foods with descriptions and the prices in plain English with $ signs and two digits to the right of the decimal point.

Be sure to take a minute to look at the menu.  All the dishes sound so good.  If nothing else, it may convince you to try Salvino's.

A word of caution - there are links floating around the web that show as the address.  They are wrong.  Leave out the "-" and you will score.  Look closely at the bottom of our receipt and you will see where the nonsense comes from.

Before dinner began, we were served some small slices of a very tasty bread with olive oil and some herbs.  The bread was soft and flavorful.  We made sure to save a couple of slices to accompany our meal.  The olive oil with herbs was also delicious.

I recalled a recent meal where we were served bread with olive oil.  It was not good.  I could not finish my piece.  I went to to look up the restaurant - it was Cafe Pasta.

Here is our shared appetizer.  It is Eggplant "Kayla".  According to the menu, it is "stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella, fontina cheese over tomato sauce, topped with bechamel sauce".  The menu didn't say, but I guess there was some eggplant in the rolls somewhere.

I will assume you know what everything is except maybe bechamel sauce and prosciutto.  Bechamel is a white sauce made with butter, milk, and flour.  If you don't know what prosciutto is, then you should probably not eat at Salvino Cucina Italiana.  Leave the cucina and go to Longhorn Steakhouse.  I'm pretty sure they don't serve prosciutto at Longhorn.

I poured some of the olive oil and herbs over my half of the Eggplant "Kayla".  It was a good idea.

I asked Kevin about the "Kayla" part of the appetizer name.  He didn't know but said he would ask.  Kevin returned a few minutes later to tell us Kayla is Salvino's granddaughter.

As we were leaving the restaurant, gray-haired grandfather Salvino, who was dressed in a white Chef's uniform with "SAL" on the front, stopped us to ask if we enjoyed our meal.  We told him we enjoyed it very much.  Grandfather Sal hoped we will return.  I suspect we will.

Debbie sips her Gabbiano Chianti.  I tried a small taste.  It was a standard grocery store wine - nothing extraordinary, but Debbie thought it went well with her dinner.

Here are the two salads that went with our meals.  On the left is my house salad with blue cheese dressing and on the right is Debbie's caesar salad.  The salads were much like the wine - nothing extraordinary.  I wondered why Salvino's even bothered to serve the salads.  Debbie said it was to get something "green" in my stomach.  I can think of several green things that would have been better.

The only other choice, other than a salad, was some sort of bean soup.  No, thanks.

Here is Debbie' entree.  It is Vitello Alla Piccata (veal piccata).  It is veal "sauteed with butter and capers in white wine lemon sauce".  It sounds delicious, but I thought it looked kinda skimpy for a $27 dish.  Debbie liked it and it was all she could eat, so what I thought didn't matter. 

I almost forgot.  The veal came with a side dish of Angel Hair pasta.  It was served with a topping of marinara sauce, but Debbie doesn't like marinara and asked to return it for plain angel hair pasta with parmesan cheese.  She mixed the pasta with the veal sauce and wolfed it down.

This is my entree.  It is Linguine Imperiale.  It is "Linguine tossed with shrimp, scallops, lobster meat, scallions and sun-dried tomatoes in creamy tomato sauce".  It was all topped with a generous grinding of parmesan cheese.

This dish was a killer.  I busied myself for several minuted just devouring the well-sauced Linguine.

The shrimp were cooked to perfection.  Very tender and very sweet.  So flavorful.  I'm sure I ate lobster and scallops somewhere along the line, but it all went together so well it was difficult to tell what was what.  It was easy to recognize the shrimp because of their shape, but the scallops and lobster disappeared into a haze of deliciousness.  

For reasons I do not understand, the Linguine Imperiale was served with a large spoon (underneath the pasta and shown below).  I suppose the spoon was for pasta twirling, but I seemed to manage quite well with just my fork.  I know I did well because I didn't get any of my dinner on my shirt, which is standard procedure.

I wondered who the Linguine is named after.  Debbie suggested Linguine might be one of the Mario Brothers.

Linguine Imperiale was an outstanding dish.  I hated to leave the red stain on my plate.  I regret not licking it clean.  You must order it when you visit Salvino Cucina Italiana.  

Some other dishes we got a look at when they were served to the birthday table were Scallops al Soave and a Beef Filet with Gorgonzola Cheese from the specials menu.

The Scallops al Soave were "pan seared sea scallops with lemon butter white wine sauce, served with spinach tossed with pasta in creamy sauce".  The scallops were served on the half-shell surrounding the pasta in the center of the dish.

The Beef Filet was a huge chunk of beef that kept calling my name.  I was too focused on the beef to notice what else was on the dish.

I believe I will try the Scallops al Soave on my next visit to Salvino's.

Here's the dessert we shared - a cannoli with chocolate and pistachios with whipped cream and a strawberry. 

It was quite good, but I would not put it in the same league as the Linguine Imperiale

Debbie gives me the "Stink Eye" for photographing her with a piece of angel hair hanging out of her mouth.  Actually several times she had a lot of pasta hanging out of her mouth, but I was never fast enough with my camera.

The prices were a tad high, but we thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Salvino Cucina Italiana.  Dinner cost $100 with the tip.

We will be returning.

Saturday, September 2, 2017


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I've always been leary of the so-called "farm to table" restaurants.  I know they're a big thing right now, but they're not my thing.  I guess I like "processed" food. The more people handling the food, the better.  I miss the old concept of multiple middlemen between the farm and the restaurant.  There's just something special about better dining through chemistry, machinery and lots of handlers.

The photo above is an example of a "farm to table" restaurant.  It is FOUR FLOCKS AND LARDER located at 433 Spring Garden St. in Greensboro.  It's in a huge white building with a lot of other "farm to table" operations, like Revolution Burger, The Bean and the Baker, Hush, and The Public.

FOUR FLOCKS has a kind of a modern industrial look.  Overheard pipes and a high ceiling add to the effect.  

The concrete floor made for a noisy environment.  An endless loop of country music played in the background and table chatter further raised the noise level when the first floor was nearing capacity. 

A small crowd occupied the first floor for probably less than an hour and then suddenly cleared out like magic.  It got much quieter.  

I cannot explain the country music.  It did not seem to go with theme of the restaurant or the food.

I like to dine in peace.  I also like to hear what my partner is saying without constantly saying 'Huh?".  If you ever dine with me, don't whisper.  I want to know what you are saying.  It may be important.  If you seeing me nodding a lot, speak up because I'm probably not hearing you

There is a partial second floor at FOUR FLOCKS, but it was never used.  It may have been the rainy weather, but it also may be some other reason there weren't enough diners to open the second floor.

Be very careful about using Google to find FOUR FLOCKS.  Google is very likely to bring up all sorts of menus for FOUR FLOCKS.  Probably none will match what the restaurant actually serves.  Not even FOUR FLOCKS web site will match the food that will be offered to you when you arrive.  If you like an adventure, FOUR FLOCKS may be your kind of place.  Otherwise, not so much.

If you are into the "greens",  FOUR FLOCKS may also appeal to you.   Like all "farm to table" operations, FOUR FLOCKS  specializes in serving Collard Greens, Brussels Sprouts, Kale Salad and Asparagus. 

Hmm...don't they all sound delicious.  They come with just about every dish.  You will have to do some serious studying of the menu to find something that is not accompanied by something green.

Debbie takes a gulp from a huge glass of wine.  It's a Meiomi Pinot Noir at $12 per glass.  The bottle was $46. 

Our waiter euthusiastically recommended it.  He said it would go with everything Debbie had ordered.  Apparently FOUR FLOCKS was a little overstocked on the Meiomi Pinot Noir or they got a special buy from the "wine farm" because our waiter was wrong.  I tried a sip.  It was very tannic, not what I expected from a Pinot Noir, especially at $12 per glass. 

Debbie didn't seem to care for the wine either, but she did empty her glass.

I ordered my usual beverage.  It was water, but a special water, I'm sure.  It was grown locally, fresh and clean, straight from the "water farm".  I know it must have been special because it was served out of a milk jug.  

Moreover, in the "larder" section of the restaurant, there is a department that sells mostly food related nick-nacks.  In a stand-up cooler was a section of 16-oz bottled waters that had homemade looking labels that proudly proclaimed in large letters "Fresh, Clean, Local"

I am not "shitting" you.  You have to wonder where the water is coming from and how it is bottled.

This is one of better parts of the entire meal.  These are Roasted Garlic, Cheddar Chive Biscuits with garlic herb butter.  The biscuit had only two flaws.  One was the flavor should have been intensified...maybe add a little MSG like the Chinese do.  The other is...well, I will tell you later in this story because it applies to both meals

This is my entree'.  

On the lower left is BBQ slaw which turned out be chopped cabbage with a few shreds of carrots.  A vinegar-based BBQ sauce had been poured over the cabbage and carrots.  It had little to no flavor other than a slight vinegar twang.  

The BBQ slaw was served in a chilled pie tin.  Let that give you a hint at the flaw in both our meals.

Above the slaw is a bowl of Wood Fired Smoked Chicken Wings.  Yes, I ordered chicken wings.  I know crazy, right?  But, the wings didn't come with collard greens, asparagus, Brussels sprouts or kale.  I really didn't have a choice.

There were maybe a dozen wing pieces covered in some sort of BBQ-like sticky sauce

The wings lacked any real flavor and were a mess to handle and eat, but I finished them finger-style.

Maybe I should have tried the Breaded Boneless Pigs Feet which were served with sauerkraut, pear puree, and spicy mustard.  I don't believe I've ever had my pigs feet breaded.

On the right is a bowl of Mac and Cheese with Duck Confit and Country Ham.  Confit is duck fat.  There were tiny pieces of country ham mixed with the mac and cheese.  It too was served in a tiny pie tin.

It's been a very, very long time since I've eaten macaroni and cheese.  This side dish so impressed me that I had to include a separate photo.  It was delicious.  It was rich and creamy.  The duck fat and tiny bits of country ham were perfect.  But, it too suffered the fatal flaw.

I don't know where the mac and cheese was grown.  Maybe in Clemmons or Winston or Eden or Burlington, but if you ever go to FOUR FLOCKS, order the mac and cheese.

This is Debbie's entree.

Those two slices were all she got.  It's Pan Roasted Duck Breast served on, yes, you guessed it, Brussels sprouts with fennel cream and dried cherries.

I tasted the duck.  It was good, but again the fatal flaw lurked.  It's too bad all she got for $14 was two little slices.  Twice that many might have been more reasonable

I wouldn't touch the Brusells sprouts with a ten-foot pole and Debbie wouldn't touch the cherries.

Here's Debbie's side dish of $4 Potlikker Collard Greens with House Bacon.  I have no idea why they're called "Potlikker" and I never saw the tiniest piece of bacon, but I suppose the bacon may have been hiding in there somewhere.

I tasted a tiny bite.  Aside from the fatal flaw, I suppose they were as good as Collard Greens can get 

Here's the dessert.  It's called a "Brownie Sundae".  It came straight from the "brownie farm".

According to the menu, you had a choice of either a chocolate brownie or a turtle brownie or a cheesecake brownie.  Each brownie is accompanied by a different ice cream - vanilla, salted caramel or strawberry with a "fire ball" cherry.

But, the menu is wrong.  A Brownie Sundae consists of all three kinds of brownies and all three kinds on ice cream.  You get them all in one dish.

When the Brownie Sundae was served I had to ask the waiter where the "fire ball" cherry was.  There was no cherry, fire ball or otherwise, visible anywhere.  He made a confused face and said he didn't know, but would ask the kitchen staff for an explanation.

Apparently, our waiter has never served a Brownie Sundae or never been asked where the "fire ball" is.

He returned a few minutes later and explained the "fire ball" was buried somewhere in the sundae.  Sure enough we eventually found the "fire ball" in the white glob in the center of the brownies.  Debbie said the glob was whipped cream, but I'm not sold on that theory,

I have no idea why the cherry was called a "fire ball".  It tasted like an ordinary cherry to me.

I think I would have been happier with just a brownie with vanilla ice cream.

This is what a nice cloth napkin looks like after being used by a guy who ordered Wood Smoked Chicken Wings.  It looks disgusting.  It was disgusting.  I pity the fool who had to bus our table.

This is our waiter.  I forget his name.  I think maybe it was Melrose or something kinda like that.  Debbie made this photo while I went to the restroom.  Melrose now knows where the "fire  ball" cherry is hiding.  Melrose will probably never forget where the "fire ball" cherry is.

Melrose hoped we enjoyed our meal.  Melrose did not know we had already discussed the meal and had decided we would never return to FOUR FLOCKS because of the fatal flaw.

The fatal flaw is everything was served at room temperature at best. That was fine for the BBQ slaw and the Brownie Sundae, but it didn't fly with the duck, the chicken wings, the collard greens, the biscuit, and the mac and cheese.  They were not fine.  They were disappointing.  Food is generally supposed to be very warm, If not, hot.

I'm not sure who to blame - the waiter, the kitchen staff, or the food runner.  I'm pretty sure the food was properly cooked, but I'm guessing it was left sitting on a counter somewhere in the bowels of the restaurant for 10-15 minutes after it was ready.

Debbie was nice, but she unloaded on Melrose and let him know the problem.  He was apologetic.  We asked for no compensation or anything else, but we were determined Melrose would know there was a problem.

Melrose thanked us for our honesty.  He lamented that most people don't say a word and then go online to bash FOUR FLOCKS for some sort of failure.  He said he would relay our complaint to management.

A few minutes later Nic Baez, the General Manager, came to our table and apologized for the problem we experienced.  Nic said there was no excuse for the cold food.  He gave us his card and signed the back for two free dinners anytime in the future.

Oh, shit!  What do we do now?  We had already decided to never return.  Now we had a "get out of jail free" card.  This is a situation we will have to think about.  If only we could order the items Debbie found online, we would definitely return...Seared Pork Belly, Buttermilk Onion Rings, Pulled Pork Nachos, Duck Fat French Fries and Spinach Dip.  And, of course, I wanted to try the Breaded Boneless Pigs Feet.

I wanted to show you a couple things in this photo - a folded copy of the menu that I had to ask our waiter for three times.  I wanted it to make some notes for this article.  He misunderstood and thought I wanted to take it home which he said was verboten.   He also promised he would get me a "special" copy of the menu which listed all the ingredients in each item.  He failed to get me the "special" menu.  I had to settle for the "regular" menu which I did take home for reference,

 The second thing I wanted to show you is the heavy wooden wall behind the folded menu against which we were seated.  God bless the wooden wall.  I think it absorbed much of the country music and table chatter.  I would not have wanted to be seated in the center of FOUR FLOCKS.

Here's where the FOUR FLOCKS come in.  On top of the wooden wall were four stuffed birds - a quail, a turkey, a duck, and a chicken,  I'm sorry I couldn't fit all four into the frame.  I needed to be about three-feet taller.

Debbie looks over the Larder.

This bit of Larder caught my eye - it's beer soap.  I bet you can't find beer soap anywhere in Reidsville.

Here's one version of the menu.  This is the one from which we ordered and the one I brought home.

Total cost for dinner was about $73 with tip.  I saved about $11 of the $73 with a Groupon.