Review: Ferrari’s Italian Villa

About six months ago, I received several letters from readers complaining about the service at Ferrari’s. Not impersonal e-mails but signed, hand-written notes detailing the rude behavior of waiters. I set out to investigate. After three visits, here’s my conclusion: if you don’t like the service at Ferrari’s, then you don’t like, or have never been to, Italy. Or in this case, Sardinia, the birthplace of owner Francesco Secchi. The chef is Francesco and wife Jane’s son, Stephano. Italian is the main language spoken in the restaurant, the recipes are inspired by grandmamma Secchi’s Old World preparations, and the service is true Italian. Roughly translated that means your order will be taken by a waiter juggling plates or shouting to another. He’ll be half-distracted as he finally delivers your glass of wine with the salad course. “Prego,” he’ll say at everything. If you ask for your food to be wrapped up, chances are he’ll toss a Styrofoam container on your table as he rushes to deliver another table’s dessert. You could be at any family-run eatery in Sardinia. Handmade focaccia is pulled from a wood-burning oven and on your plate within seconds. Fresh pasta dishes, like orecchiette tossed with Italian sausage, tomato sauce, rapini, and Parmesan, reflect true Italian ingredients. But the veal is the big deal here, especially the 2-inch chop stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella and grilled to a golden brown. Frangelico-scented zabaglione prepared tableside and dripped over seasonal berries is highlighted with toasted hazelnuts. “Bene?” asked our waiter. “Molto bene,” I said, hoping to impress him with my command of his language. But he was long gone.

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