Just a few weeks ago, City Paper published a review on Italian restaurant Le Farfalle with the headline “Chef Michael Toscano serves near-perfect food at Le Farfalle,” then yesterday, the Post and Courier dropped “Le Farfalle suffers from uneven service and food.” Headlines aren’t the whole story, so let’s dive down into the differences between critics Vanessa Wolf (CP) and Hanna Raskin (P&C).
First, the service: both writers agree it needs work.
Wolf: “... on one occasion, my once-attentive waiter vanished shortly after the first course. Varying runners made sure the job ultimately got done, but the contrasting attention levels were hard to ignore.”
Raskin: “Long spells without seeing an employee other than a wonderful server’s assistant (who a spokeswoman reports is no longer with the restaurant) were a recurring motif.”
Raskin reiterates that Charleston is currently short staffed on servers but says, “... Yet even when graded on a curve, the service at Le Farfalle comes up short.”
On to the food.
Wolf: “Practically perfect in every way ...”
Raskin: “... looks like psychedelic salami and tastes of a life spent at sea ...” (That’s a good thing.)
Wolf: “... Hedonistic as Caligula, yet decidedly Asian ...”
Raskin: “... provides another fine way to start ...”
Wolf: “It tastes like comfort, and it's got me wondering if Le Farfalle's neighbors are looking for a roommate, as I could also live on this.”
Raskin: “... the lawn cuttings-green broccoli rabe, braised and ornamented with tender gigante beans, follow the same pepper vinegar script [as the cherry peppers in the pork chop]”
Wolf: “It's luxuriant and balanced, with the perfect amount of salty bite added by the freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. There you go again, Le Farfalle, making me love you.”
Raskin: “... the unattractive mess of slow-cooked pork shoulder, beans and broccoli rabe that it anchored was distressingly salty.”
While Raskin wasn’t convinced just yet, she did concede that the Le Farfalle is on the right track and that it “stands to only improve with age.”