BAM! Here we are gobbling away at a place called Papavero located on Wilson Street in Madison, Wisconsin. Papavero was billed to us as a really good Italian joint in Madtown, and our experience is that it is only ‘ok.’ The room is cozy and warm-feeling, and we are extremely happy that even though the place is packed we are able to secure two seats at the bar and begin our gobble session right away. The staff–at least the four chicks we are observing and working with–are all kinda cold and clammy…strange. Nevertheless, we order away…mushroom soup, antipasti that includes grilled octopus, a crab-cake thing, and a stuffed pepper thing…then fettuccine with crab meat and tomatoes in a light cream sauce of sorts…and a wild boar ragu with a wide noodle–don’t remember the name of the noodle. . .it should be something like tagliatelle, but it’s not. . .and all of this is washed down with a tasty valpolicella classico reserva–niiiice!
Everything was only ‘ok’ here with the main problem being that all the dishes are underseasoned. . .so nothin’ tastes like nothin’, to put it bluntly. . .and the pasta is overcooked–not al dente–BOOOO!
I am a total idiot when it comes to cooking and food, but I do know that food needs to be seasoned–especially Italian food–because it’s all about the flavor. . .fresh local ingredients and FLAVOR! We are not getting a lot of flavor here. . .from the staff or the food. Fortunately, these are simple things to remedy: folks just have to act like they really enjoy providing hospitality to people, and the cooks here simply need a reintroduction to the power of salt and pepper in food preparation. If this place adds these two elements–seasoning to both the staff and the food–then we would return to Papavero again and again. In the meantime, we will continue our search for good Italian grub in Madtown. . .jaaa!!
In short, what we are finding in Wisconsin overall is that it is best to eat at really local tavern-like and diner-like places where everyone is loose, easy, relaxed, and serving straightforward and hearty fare. . .the aspiring higher-end experiences are dotted throughout the state, but they are all lacking in attitude, atmosphere, and/or food preparation quality. . .just my humble silly little opinion, for whatever it’s worth.
I send you high-aiming vibes from Papavero in Madison. . .feel them. . .they might make you work a little harder and smarter today.
To see more stupendous images from around our teeny tiny planet simply click on a location of your choice in the category menu on the ‘About’ page of this blog. . .do it. . .you might learn a thing or three.
It’s lovely out there.