It's an early Sunday night and this whole getting dark early really throws off my circadian rhythms, not to mention my eating habits. Me and the SO are wandering through the Apple Store and decide to grab a bite to eat since it's getting late, but really isn't. Sadly, The Cavalier is way too crowded so we wander through Mint Plaza and stumble across 54 Mint--a place I can honestly say I'd never heard of. I don't usually go through this part the plaza as it's far at the back and more off the alley way next to it. After a brief glance at the menu, it's Italian, the SO goes in and they say they have a table, so why not.
The place is pretty crowded and we are actually seated at a space downstairs--in the basement--still it's a cute looking place--lots of wood to give it that homey feel. After being seated, it does take a bit of time for the waiter to make his way to us which I'll give a pass to since I'm not sure what I want. While I peruse we are brought some bread and olive oil and while the bread is good, it's cold, not room temperature--fridge temp--it would have been so much better served warm. Once we are ready, we have to flag our waiter down and decide to start with the evening meatball appetizer special.
Several balls of beef and veal covered in marinara and shredded parmesan. The meatballs were juicy, which was nice, but the were a bit under seasoned, I mean they were decent, but they didn't really make my taste buds sit up and sing. The marinara sauce was on the sweet side for us and I'm hoping that's because they put just a tad too much sugar in it, otherwise it could mean they were using sauce from a jar, which I truly hope was not the cause, either way, wasn't the biggest fan of it. Next we moved on to the pizzetta.
Grilled home made flatbread with gorgonzola, pear and a drizzle of balsamic. We both liked this a lot. The bread was thin and crisp and sharpness of the cheese was nicely balanced with the sweetness of the pear and the tang of the balsamic. These items together really isn't a new combo, I've seen this on salads and what not before, but this dish was still a tasty winner. My only gripe would be that I wished it was a slightly bigger portion, for $14 it's on the small side for the price. We then topped the meal off with the gnocchi.
Potato gnocchi with smoked pancetta, tomato, onion and shaved pecorino. The gnocchi were perfectly good--neat little stubs of dough that wasn't gummy or chewy, but light little soft bites. Perfectly fine, but again, the problem here is that they didn't have much flavor. The pancetta was a good addition, but it's smoky flavor was too few and far between. Fortunately the sauce wasn't as sweet and you could taste the onion and some garlic, but there really wasn't enough pecorino to add any additional depth of flavor. It's like the execution is good but all pretty basic and nothing seems to elevate it to a wow.
54 Mint is an okay place and the food is mostly fine, it kind of reminds of a place you'd take your grandmother when she comes to town as the food is perfectly serviceable but isn't too much of one thing or the other that she'll totally hate it. Though if you ask her in a few months what she thought, she'd say the meal was perfectly fine, but would have a hard time telling you what she had or why it was okay. Which is exactly how I felt about the place. One thing to note, service was awful slow. We had trouble getting the waiter to come by which is the one thing I really remember.