It was not fun at all.
"This is so-and-so, and he'll be shadowing me, I'm training him, I am the trainer for this location, we have to give him a hard time" speaks volumes. Esp. when supervisor-server is overheard saying same line to other couple in same way later and overheard and overheard and overheard as he chooses to engage in a too-loud conversation with other couple, because he and male counterpart both have experience in leasing / real estate: "Oh, you should charge them such-and-such and run their record through the mill. And, pets — I get at least another month's rent deposit — you have to protect your investment!"
When you can hear the server's babbling over your own thoughts two tables away …
Dear So-and-so didn't do much nor receive a hard time. He did come and ask if we wanted more water, right after he and trainer had just been by. Mostly, I feel bad for him, since the place was sooooo underpopulated — on a Friday night at 7 p.m.
All we wanted was outdoor dining with decent food for price … I don't even mind paying $8 a glass for $12 bottle (retail) wine, but what is there to see but running boards that fold in automatically when the SUV door closes across the street at the steak place where the valets were busy — or the homeless people walking on the same Hollywood-poured sidewalk as the bachelorette partygirls or the conventioners with their matching over-the-shoulder string-sling conference bags?
Calamari might be "better" for being made of more rings than tentacles, but even with the tempura batter and the addition of mushrooms and pepper strips, I could not bear finishing them … yes, fresh tomato purée to dip them in is good, but all of it very bland, very bland. And, that doily was a nice touch, but draining the fried sea creatures longer would have pleased me more. Or, maybe some pepper (chef's addition, not mine).
Angel hair pasta with olive oil, basil, tomatoes … really, a clump like that? I know it's very hard to get fresh mozzerella to the table in good form, but all the oil should not abandon the pasta for the bottom of the bowl right off, leaving a mass of angel tangles to pick apart.
And, while I appreciated the unsolicited commentary by trainer-server about how the eggplant parmesean (on the anti / appetizer menu but chosen as entrée) was not fried and "more healthy," I found it way oily anyway and had no use for the slab o' cheese on top besides. Visually, it was fine, but to taste the same (sooooooo nearly) tomato purée surrounding it …
Worst $50-dinner ever.
Irritating, faux-doting yet condescending service … maybe happy hour (before 6:30 p.m.) is fine, but we would have enjoyed having hot dogs from the vendor cart down the block 1,000 times more. The seller has a tattoo of Afghanistan on his neck and when asked, said, "But don't tell anyone," and, of course, I find that humorous. He's been here since 1979 (Kansas City), which "is long enough to be a vendor." I can't determine how that linguistic nuance should be interpreted.
But back to "Italy" — maybe the Bice bread has something Milanese-regional going on, too, but I think that crumbly pan is bad. Where's the yeast and crust we have come to know and love when dining American Italian? The roasted pepper-something cream cheese did pair with it well, but I tasted very little (and the cheese came on a chilled square plate in yet more olive oil).
Anyway, needless to say and without photos because the camera was off doing art things, I could (in the re-contexted words of my friend whom I dragged there against the instincts I used to use) give a flying sweet potato that "Bice Bistro arrives in Kansas City."
Chain CONCEPT restaurants are useless food-wasting-factories. The eggplant strata (and everything I have eaten) at One-80 is far superior.
When even I, the most starving-to-death middle-classer-on-the-edge, do not take a box of leftovers home but sends the greasy mess to its rat-bin … well, I guess it's high time I return to my instincts.