Last night my family and I went to Portofino Ristorante in Tinton Falls to celebrate my dad's birthday. We used to come here all the time until there was an incident with the valet making a dent in my dad's car. The restaurant didn't handle the situation well, so we have been very hesitant to return. Until last night...
We gave Portofino a chance to redeem themselves and serve us a meal that would convince us to return again. However, this wasn't the case.
The manager brought over the wine my dad ordered and I saw him look at me trying to decide if I was 21. He casually went and asked to take away my glass (it must have been a mistake that there were 4 wine glasses on the table!) and my dad told him that I will be having wine. Instead of just asking for my ID, which I would have preferred, he did the judgmental laugh while asking "are you 21? Wait, don't answer, I'll be a nice guy and give you wine anyway hahahahaha". SERIOUSLY?!!! I'M 22! (I didn't respond quite like that, but I did tell him I'm 22) His response: "Hahaha, right, right". This made me angry. Even my dad was like "um, she has her ID if you'd like to see it.." While my brother told him I was 16. Thanks.
The appetizers took a long time to arrive, but at least we were satisfied with our dishes. My mom and I shared the special fennel and blood orange salad. Blood oranges are in season now and they tasted wonderful on our salad.
My dad and brother each ordered the sauteed calamari. I didn't try it but they loved it!
So far so good, right? We waited an extremely long time for our entrees. It was nearing 9:00 and we got to the restaurant at 7:15!
Finally our dishes arrived. I ordered the salmon al cartoccio. I rarely order salmon at restaurants because I am usually very picky with salmon. However, I really like the preparation of steaming fish in foil or parchment so I figured I'd give it a try. It is really hard to dry out fish with this cooking preparation, since you simply bake it for a short amount of time (10-15 minutes) in the oven until the pouch steams.
I took my first bite and believe it or not, it was EXTREMELY dry. I was starving at this point so I ate most of it anyway, but the fish was unpleasantly chewy and not very flavorful. I had to eat each bite with the salad that was nicely dressed with balsamic. The potatoes on the side were flavor-less and under-seasoned.
My mom ordered the mahi mahi special. Unfortunately her fish was dry too. She didn't even have to taste it to know that it was over-cooked. My mom could barely eat the fish and picked around at the vegetables around it. My brother had the rack of lamb special. His lamb was not dry. It was rare, as in completely raw. He ate most of it even though I told him it was unacceptably raw. He left a piece on the plate that even he couldn't eat because it was clearly not cooked at all. We showed the waitress and she offered to cook it more. No, we do not want you to cook the one bite of lamb.
There was nothing to complain about my dad's rigatoni carbonara. It would have been really disappointing if a simple pasta dish wasn't good at this high-class Italian restaurant. At least the birthday boy had a good meal!
Overall, not the greatest dinner. That was strike 2 for Portofino, so it might be a while before we decide to return again.