Monday, January 14, 2013

Poppy’s Ristorante

2004 N Truman Blvd
Crystal City, MO

Had the weather reports earlier in the week predicted correctly, we would have been covered by nearly a foot of snow, what we had instead though was a dreary, cold rain. We need the rain, the Mighty Mississippi is low, threatening to halt barge traffic. I doubt that the heavy, prolonged showers we got on Saturday will solve the problem, but at least it would slow it down. Two days in the fifties and sixties followed by an all day rain, I wasn’t too worried about having to shovel out this weekend.
So we headed out in the cold drizzle, to Crystal City, North of the town’s center on Truman Boulevard also known as Highway 61/67.
The Place:
Adjoined to the Quonset Lanes, a bowling alley, Poppy’s is a nice place. The interior is lined and furnished with ornate heavy wood, almost church-like, very stylish. Not at all the industrial, mass-produced furnishings found at strip mall diners and cafes.
We stepped through the puddles, relieved to see the ‘Immediate Seating’ neon sign lit up. Sure enough there were several empty tables and we were led to one immediately, as promised.
We were handed menus and asked about drinks. I went out on a limb and asked for tea, Angel inquired about and ordered a Diet Dr. Pepper, and Adam a Pepsi. A few moments later Angel was informed that they were out of DDr. P, so she switched it to the full octane Dr. P.
Overhead, Sirius XM ‘The Blend’ was playing some good tunes.

The Food:
They brought the drinks and rolls, big rolls, fantastic rolls. Light, crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and warm enough to melt the butter. The tea was fresh, bright and tasty.
The menu was simple and well laid out. It didn’t take very long for us to be ready to order. I’d had the cannelloni a couple of times already and was determined to have something else this time. The waitress had told us about a couple of specials, one in particular sounded pretty good. The penne pasta special  included green onions, chicken and bacon in a white sauce. I added the Greek salad.
Angel went for the Pasta Con Pesce again, a seafood and linguine plate she’d had before, and of course she added the Greek salad as well.
Adam jumped at a new (to us) item on the menu, Buffalo Chicken Penne. He added the soup instead of a salad.
Penne Special
I stole Angel’s Angry Bird Machine, her smart phone, and played a couple of rounds. I’d started playing this silly game over the holidays, a little here and there, refusing to become addicted to it. I’m not a ‘game’ person, but something about the simple concept and the ability to try a level again and again and again without penalty had hooked me for the time being. As with all other games I’ve ever played though I will surely grow bored with it pretty soon.
Pasta Con Pesce
The salads and soup arrived in good time. The salad was piled high and very pretty. There’s a problem with Poppy’s salad though, the plate is too small. To cut the pepper and onion slices means that lettuce will fall off onto the table, not a lot of working room. There’s nothing at all wrong with the freshness or the taste though, nothing at all.  There were plenty of olives as well, not those tight polished orbs you get out of a cheap jar, these were irregular, rough, and had a much deeper flavor.
Buffalo Chicken Penne
The salads and soup disappeared and shortly the main courses arrived. Heaping, steaming pastas. A LOT of pasta. My penne was creamy and smoky, with chunks of chicken and green onions and lots of bacon bits. The creamy sauce was rich and  savory, buttery. My pasta bowl was not quite as large as the other two, but I knew there was still much more than I could deal with in one sitting.
Angel never ran out of shrimp chunks. She too had to admit to defeat though, there was enough pasta on our three plates to feed Europe.
Adam picked through his, I could tell something was wrong. I finally pried it out of him. “I’m not a big  Ranch Dressing guy.” 
He likes hot wings and said that sure enough the hot-wing taste was consistent and the spiciness was not overpowering. They had laid on as a sauce, a big dollop of ranch. Though the tastes were all as-advertised it was simply a better plan on paper than in execution.
We asked for two boxes, Adam wasn’t taking his leftovers home.
A few minor points, but otherwise Poppy’s is a place we like quite well.
While we were dining, three or four uniformed staff members gathered at a table near the door.  This is usually a big no-no in higher end places. One reason is that, sure enough, the ladies eventually started talking about work and some of the customers, dirty laundry being aired in front of paying guests. They weren’t too loud really, but if I were the owner I don’t think I’d like them talking shop in the dining area like that. It’s just not good form.
The biggest complaint we had though was the portions. This is a silly thing to consider a problem, but it is something Poppy’s may want to take a look at. There’s no fixed formula, but if the majority of your guests are boxing up half or more of their meal, you might reconsider portion size.
Pasta is heavy, the sauces are rich and creamy. Milk-based sauces don’t digest/break down quickly. For that reason that it’s far easier to quickly drink a gallon of water or even beer than it is to drink a gallon of milk. In fact, it is nearly impossible. Ergo, milk/cream and cheesy sauces are much, much more ‘filling’ than tomato based sauces.
There’s simply no profit in sending half meals out the door, even though the price is not really bad.
Our meal cost us fifty five and change, it would have been ten dollars less had we remembered to bring our coupon. We’re on their mailing list and they send out coupons fairly often, though we never seem to remember to take them.
Poppy’s is a very good place. The food is awesome, there’s simply too much of it if that sort of thing can be considered a problem. The décor is classy, different and quite nice, the staff, aside from the front of house get-togethers were all professional and efficient. I highly recommend this place, the food is much better than and price-comparable to the franchise sports bars.

Poppy's Ristorante on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. The giant cheese sticks are amazing as is the homemade sauce they come with and I'm not a big fan of red sauce but I could drink the stuff it's so good. And all of their salads are great! I love them all! It's a really nice place to go for real Italian food. Don't let the fact that it's attached to a bowling alley fool you. The food is wonderful!