Saturday, July 23, 2005

Run of the Mill.

So it is with Fratellos in Appleton.

Fratellos which is connected with the Fox River Brew Company in the Fox River Mall and with Fratellos in Oshkosh recently bought a restaraunt along Prospect Street (Just east of Mermorial Drive, south of Prospect, west of Oneida) in Appleton.

Scenery and Ambience

The building is right on the Fox River just downstream from some dams. The setting is stunning, with seagulls, ducks, gease, turkey vultures, and occasionally the town's resident bald eagles come to dine on the fish in the river. The wing dam is partiuclarly beautiful to view.

Fratellos is in an old paper mill and used to be another restaraunt and another patron said the old one tried to be more upscale, he said smaller portions, bigger prices, probably more artful food. The bar and dining area gave that distinct atmosphere.

The Bar

The barroom was nice. Brightly lit and if you don't like light it may pay to go until after sunset. The view of the river was nice. They were conducting wine tasting per request and twice we saw tasting sessions go on with Ravens Wood old vine zinfandel. They brought out four bottles from four of Ravens Wood's vineyards. This impressed a guy from LA who is moving to Wisconsin. I had a couple of ginnentonics and they used Tanqueray for the gin, note, next time ask them to use the cheap gin for my ginnentonic. Tanqueray is for martinis. Claudia had her usual lemon lime soda with "less ice" unfortunately, they missed "less ice" and loaded up.

Signs of Bad Things To Come

Okay. So far so good. When we sat down at the bar we were told about a 45 minute wait. Well, two ginnentonics later (actually it would have been three or four, but after the second I decided to order again would just encourage them) and about 1-1/2 hours later our pager buzzed. Claudia's lemon-lime soda was more like water with bubbles in it.

A Long Wait Made Longer

We were finally brought to the dining room. We ordered, I ordered crabcakes for an appetizer, the beef ravioli and a glass of carbenet sauvignon, and Claudia ordered the chicken marsala.

After some waiting the crabcakes came out and they were fine but nothing special. Then the wait went on. Our waiter came and offered to have the manager come out and talk to us, I simply asked if that would speed things up. Duh! Then after a very long wait our orders came.

The Food

I had a salad and Claudia had the New England clam chowder. Why doesn't anyone ever serve Manhattan style clam chowder? It was good, just "same but different". I have only been to one restaraunt in the area that serves Manhattan Style Clam Chowder and that one is in Fond du Lac.

The ravioli was good and I was impressed but wine was missing and I was depressed, it was beef stuffed ravioli with a sauce of pesto and reduced balsamic vinegar. Claudia had a couple bits of her chicken marsala and did not care for it. I will see how it was from the leftovers.

The menu appeared to be identical to the one from the Fox River Brew Company in the mall, which IMO was bad. They can upscale the menu.

In Short (order)

In short the place shows promise but really disappointed last night. To be fair they were busy, the parking lot was full and the headwaiter thought they are starting to see EAA (Expreimental Aircraft Association) business.

The view I give a 5/5 (0 being overlooking a stockyard).
The Ambience I give a 4/5 (0 being a joint with the stud walls still not covered over).
The menu I give a 3/5 (0 being "you get what I give you").
The food itself I give a 3.5/5 (0 being Irish sausages).
The service I give a 1/5 (0 being you have to wash your own dishes afterwards).

Overall I give 3.5/5 (0 being they would have to pay me to eat there again).

The scenery and the ambience will bring me back. Even though I do characterize it as "run of the mill" I do suggest you check it out, the scenery and the ambience does makeup for its other shortcomings.