By Mark David Blum, Esq.
In the more than 26 years my wife and I have lived in upstate NY, we have heard about but never before had made it to Tassone’s in Baldwinsville. Primary among the reasons is that it is in Baldwinsville and we are in Manlius. I am too much the curmudgeon to drive that far for a meal; no matter how yummy.
Today, however, a political bigshot and deep pocket client invited me to lunch at Tassones. When he first called, I said he could drive to Manlius and buy me coffee as the cost of my time or he could pay me for the time and the drive out to B-ville. He opted for the latter and I arrived at Tassones about ten minutes before he did. First buying a Quick Pick ticket (superstition), I then stood around making small talk with a man who turned out to be the owner. He was kind enough to share the 30 something year history of the restaurant and named all the other locally owned and well known dining establishments owned by him and his cousins. I must admit I was very impressed with the ambiance, the menu, and even the wine list.
Eventually my appointment arrived and we escorted to a table. “Age before beauty” he says to me as I follow the waitress to our table. The large dining room has only four other tables occupied and two waitresses working the room. Ours comes over, we make some small talk, give her our drink orders, hear about the specials (the fish sounded awesome), and she disappears – returning within moments with our drinks promising to return shortly to take our food order.
FORTY FIVE MINUTES LATER the waitress still had not returned to the table. The drinks were gone, our available time was gone, and my stomach was growling. I would love to give you a review of the food but I never got to taste any. Seriously, as furiously busy as the waitress were not and no matter how many times we shouted to get her attention, you would have thought we were invisible.
So as to my review of the capri fish special, or the alternative I was considering – roast beef pannini – all I can say is that I would have ordered it based on how it was described. I really don’t know if it is any good at all. In fact, I cannot tell you if any of Tassone’s food is any good. For all I know, barn waste might taste better. Alas but I can shed no light on that mystery. At least the wine was as expected.
When I tried to reach out to the owner again as we were leaving, he was no longer on premises. The poor hostess (and I really really was nice and calm) felt real bad and I know it wasn’t her fault. After all, it was not me who was embarrassed. I was just hungry. My host – the client who invited me – was the one embarrassed and I felt for him. The hostess tried to salve the wound with a $20 gift card. While I am not ungrateful, $20 barely covers the gas of two round trips from Manlius to Baldwinsville. So I left the gift card for my friend on his next visit and I left my business card for the owner.
I have heard a lot of wonderful things about Tassones. Unfortunately, I cannot bear witness to anything positive. All I can say is that it was 25 years before my first visit and I bet it will be another 25 at least before I or anybody within the reach of my words goes there again.
And to think, I wore my dentures for this ….