We didn't have reservations but only waited a few minutes before we were shown to our table upstairs. The room was pretty full and the bar stools were filled with people dressed in green celebrating St. Patrick's Day.
The room was incredibly loud, way more than I've ever encountered in a restaurant. Music played in the background, competing with people practically yelling to hear each other, so it was difficult to have a pleasant evening. I know my husband would have walked out the door. It's definitely more a "Bar" than "Italian Grille" and definitely not a "...soothing and comfortable environment." We did like the decor of the room. Tall booths, dark colors on the walls, and one wall had a nice glass display of wine bottles.
The menu had a very good assortment of southern Italian dishes. I ordered the Cioppino ($18), a combination of clams, mussels, calamari, scallops, and salmon (although there wasn't a single scallop in my dish), served with linquini in a spicy marinara sauce. The portion was large, filling, and very good; and the seafood was tender.
Liz ordered the Chicken Scarpareiello ($16), which was thinly sliced chicken, pearl onions and musrhooms in a marsala wine sauce; and sliced roasted potatoes. She liked her dish but wished there had been something more to the plate such as string beans, broccoli, spinach or some colorful vegetable.
The bread that was served left a lot to be desired. Just plain white rolls. A hearty, crusty bread would have been a better choice. Along with the rolls was a plate with olive oil, pesto, diced sun-dried tomatoes, and a dollop of butter. Skip the butter and ask for more olive oil.
We each ordered a glass of house wine ($5.50).
As we ate our dinner, we looked at the foods that were being served near us. The fried calamari appetizer was huge! Will have to order it next time. The pizzas were on the small side and they looked like they could have used a few more minutes in the oven. Liz and I both like a toasty crust and almost-burnt cheese. The shrimp and crab risotto looked delicious (another big plate of food).
Overall the food was good, the portions decent, and prices reasonable (although I'm used to going to family-style Italian restaurants that serve a side salad with the entrees). I'll definitely return. I need to try their calamari. Here's hoping that it won't be so noisy as last night.
Mistero "Bar and Italian Grille"
18 Market Place