An Attitude about Lattitude
I usually try to be pretty nice when discussing restaurants on this blog. After all, I’m not a professional critic, I’m just some weirdo who takes pictures at restaurants. But I’d like to work on being more true to myself so I am screwing up a little courage and I am going to tell you exactly what I thought about Lattitude. I will preface it by saying I have only been to this restaurant twice and maybe that’s not enough to get a true feel for the place. But this was my impression on this particular night based on what we ordered.
This first dish I had is probably causing my strongest desire to rant. On the menu, the logo for E. Cecchi Farms is prominently displayed next to the title and I wonder if they or Lattitude should be more embarrassed by it. It’s the middle of August and there should be good tomatoes to be had right now. This was not a good tomato. It was pink, and not because it was some nice pink heirloom variety. The texture was grainy as if it had been refrigerated. And see that “drizzle” of balsamic reduction? That’s no drizzle. That’s a deluge. As I cut it all up to eat, the balsamic absolutely pooled around everything, pretty much completely hiding the color and flavor of the sub-par tomato.
Here’s the thing. Maybe yesterday E. Cecchi didn’t have any good tomatoes to provide. Maybe they are having a rough season like I am with my garden. Maybe that pale, colorless, flavorless orb was the best they had to offer. It happens. But if it does, then the restaurant should not be featuring it. So, the question is, why did they? Does the public just demand a caprese-like salad at this time of year and they are going to provide it whether it is any good or not? Do they think if they bury it in enough balsamic, I won’t notice? Well, I did notice and I wasn’t amused.
I didn’t take a picture of my husband’s mussels appetizer because you probably know what mussels look like. And granted, the description did note the sausage prominently: “Mussels with Chorizo, Garlic and Sweet Onions, Whole leaf basil, oven roasted tomatoes, garlic, white wine.” But, the rest of the description really doesn’t matter because all the broth tasted like was sausage.
Here’s my entree, a cornucopia of stuff that may or may not have gone together. The best part? Something that was out of season – tempura asparagus. But hey, what doesn’t taste good dipped in batter in fried? The main dish itself – the tuna – was prepared correctly as I ordered it. It was rare with just a slight sear all around the edges. But, the celery salt crust was way too salty and I found myself eventually cutting pieces of fish out of the middles of the slices. Unfortunately, the tuna itself while fresh, was not particularly flavorful. The pickled watermelon and pineapple salsa was incredibly sour. The menu said the sauce was a sriracha aioli but the texture and appearance was more like the balsamic from the tomato dish. The taste was sweet and sour. My overall impression was that there was just a little too much going on to not much effect.
My husband chose the Grilled Massachusetts Line Caught Black Grouper. I didn’t know there even was any grouper in Massachusetts so I tried to find out more about it online today. I was a little bit shocked to find out that the Environmental Defense Fund calls the fish an “Eco-Worst Choice.” Mmm, yum, elevated mercury levels AND poor sustainability practices. Ah, just as well because the fish was bland as hell. Good thing my husband at least enjoyed the whipped white sweet potatoes with lobster demi. I noticed on Lattitude’s website this evening that the grouper had been replaced with Pan Roasted Nantucked Striped Bass. Interesting.
I’m a dessert lover so I hoped to finish the meal on a high point. I was tempted by the chocolate covered bacon (no, really!) but went conservative and chose the peach cobbler instead. The house made vanilla ice cream on top was fantastic, and the baked peaches themselves were delightful. The crumbly topping though, like the crust on the tuna, was way too salty.
It’s interesting to note that on this particular Tuesday night, Lattitude was hopping. We didn’t think we’d need a reservation but when we showed up at 6:00, we could only be seated in the bar and would have had to wait until 8:00 to be seated in the restaurant. So, people are liking this place. Maybe it’s just me, but I expected better.