Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Giovanni's in Travelers Rest: Not All That It Was Cracked Up to Be

I just realized I hadn't posted anything here in four days. Yikes!

I have been -- and still am -- covered up in work. It's a good problem to have; but not only does it eat into the time I might otherwise spend blogging, when I write for six or seven hours a day, I just don't feel like sitting down and writing more.

Besides, when I've got this much work, it doesn't leave time for anything of notable interest to happen.

I did go out to dinner with friends on Thursday. It was a spur of the moment event. I was a little tardy getting to their townhouse because, well, I was wrapping up an assignment and didn't want to quit until it was finished.

Arriving at their place, a bottle of red was already open and a full glass sat waiting for me. Don't you just love friends who anticipate your needs. Of course, in my case, that's not a big mystery. But I was burned out and a glass of vino was exactly the correct prescription.

We discussed our dining options and landed on a new Italian place in Travelers Rest called Giovanni's. Most of the Peddler Wednesday Night Irregulars have been there and spoken well of it. I thought it high time I put in an appearance.

Being a last-minute choice, we didn't have reservations, but we all enjoy eating at the bar whenever the opportunity presents itself.

We managed to time our arrival at the bar to coincide perfectly with some folks leaving their seats; we sat down.

The bartender -- Heather was her name -- was in front of us almost before we settled into our seats. With personality galore, she bantered a bit with us and took our order for a bottle of Cannonball Cab.

Looking at the menu, I'd have to say that the fare is more Mediterranean than Italian. There are some Italian-like pasta dishes, but strictly speaking, it isn't Italian.

We ordered some appetizers, along with our dinners. Dinner salads were included with two of our orders. Within five minutes our entrees appeared. I've had that happen in BBQ joints where everything is basically prepared ahead of time and filling an order is simply a matter of plating the food.

I've never had that happen in an "Italian" restaurant. It made me wonder if everything was premade and microwaved as the orders came in.

After the food runner returned to the kitchen we called Heather over and asked about our appetizers and salads. She seemed as confounded as we were.

She rushed into the kitchen to see what was happening and returned to tell us it was all on its way. With that, someone from the kitchen came out to clarify what kind of dressing I wanted on my salad.

All of that came out a couple of minutes later.

My chicken parm was pretty good. It was served with some sort of round pasta noodles covered in an Alfredo-like sauce. It was OK, but not Alfredo.

This place is new, but it's far from brand new. Snafus like the entrees coming out five minutes before the appetizers should be far in their rearview mirror.

We didn't raise a big stink about it; in fact, we were quite understanding. People who have been out with me when things go South, know I can raise a stink. I've seen me do it many times.

We did like Heather and none of us felt like giving her a rough time, but we were surprised that at no time did a manager come by to apologize, and there was not so much as a glimmer of some compensation like a free glass of wine or desert.

It's more than a 30-minute drive for me to get there; neither the food, the service nor even the Heather's personality was good enough to get me to go back any time soon.

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