Bruschetta Italian Restaurant, Key West

Complimentary bruschetta brought to the table, but it was a sad, soggy mess.

I wanted to like it. Any time a new restaurant, bar, or shop opens in town, I hope it’s excellent and successful. While we are very lucky to have many good restaurants in town, another option is always a positive thing. When friends decided we would check out Bruschetta, I had high hopes. After all, other friends enjoyed their meal, and the review in the newspaper was very positive. 

Located on a small street off Duval Street, this location has housed several failed restaurants in the past several years. Would this be the one that lasts? It doesn’t seem like it.

Eggplant parm, or lasagna? Hard to tell.

Our group of ten dined during the week between Christmas and New Years when Key West is at its busiest. The restaurant was no exception with a loud and boisterous interior. The entrance to the restaurant has a few tables and then up a few stairs there are more tables. It is an odd layout. After about fifteen minutes a frazzled-looking server (who seemed to wish he were elsewhere) finally came over to take our order. Eventually, we managed to achieve drinks and place our food orders.

Service was extremely slow, requests for additional beverages went ignored, and yet, I was willing to forgive all of this if the food was good. It wasn’t.

If you go, please don’t get the veal.

FKGuy ordered an arugula salad and eggplant parmesan. I ordered veal marsala with a side of pasta. The salad was fine, if not memorable. We went to Onlywood a few days later and had virtually the same salad, only their version was fresh and delicious.

When two people at the table complained that they did not get the lasagna they ordered, our server figured out he served the lasagna to the two people that ordered eggplant parm. Oops. Although they do look similar, I would expect someone to know what they are serving. (Perhaps I expect too much?) When they finally did get the eggplant, it was tasty.

I ordered veal marsala, looking forward to tender veal served with delicious pasta. Unfortunately, I had a plate of tough meat, left largely uneaten in a pool of sad, gluey sauce. The pasta was slightly better, though the sauce was the same as on the veal, gummy and salty. I did eat the pasta because by that point I was very hungry. At that point, I felt like it was more worthwhile to suck it up and not go back, as our server could not have handled anyone complaining about the food. Hell, he couldn’t handle bringing one of my friends another beer.

I was disappointed to realize that this restaurant would not live up to the expectations. I’d choose La Trattoria or Onlywood any night for Italian food. I suggest you do the same.

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