Okay. I have to get my two cents into the Italian thing. First of all, I don’t eat out much cause I don’t put my money where my mouth is. However, I have eaten at several Italian restaurants over recent years, one at the Landing, one on the east side of 17, south of Orange Park, and some in Arlington and Southside.
A couple on the Southside, and Merrill road, were overall tolerable. The one on 17 being so terrible, I never went back because I sensed that the problem was quite settled in. Some restaurants offer the feeling that any problem meals or mediocrities are temporary, but occasionally one gets the feeling that there is simply no hope.
I am sure that there are some excellent Italian restaurants around Jax. For curiosity I will experiment with some appearing on this thread to see if anything beats La Cena. Yes, yes, yes…. La Cena, run by the famous pasta nazi we’ve all come to love and admire, and hate, for his unique and colorful approach to the homeless problem. Well…..if we all don’t love and admire, we at least might understand, much as we understand and love a distant uncle whom the family agrees is somewhat unique.
Seriously though, the pasta at La Cena, made fresh every evening, has to be some of the best in Jax. Some restaurant pastas remind me of something I would pull out of a can, rather uninteresting, always drowned with excess to hide the mediocrity of it. The pasta on 17 was so bad, I knew as I walked out that I would never return.
But there is more to an Italian meal than pasta. What of the total mix, which can arrive as a work of art, not only in appearance, but in taste, in the exciting whiff when set upon the table which informs you that it was most likely prepared not by a couple of hired cooks, but by an experienced chef, as in Jerry’s case.
Seriously, there is not a hint of mediocrity at La Cena. The quality of the pasta is equaled by the seafood, the fresh made bread, the music, the experienced service, and the quiet setting. And the price should be somewhat appreciated, as it is one reason why one never sees a loud family with four kids yelling around a table. La Cena has to be one of the best Italians in this city. But I intend to experiment, as I am curious about some others my MJ friends have mentioned.
Okay, admittedly, another reason I frequent La Cena is because to dine there I must walk only twenty feet down the sidewalk from my apartment. However, as particular as I have become about the taste and quality of food, I would not eat at La Cena as often as I do if it was not quite above the average.