My first experience at Porsena was attending a private book party. Appetizers were abound and nothing was particularly good. A total disappointment. Then Porsena was well reviewed and I thought I should go back for dinner…and so I did.
The restaurant feels like an Italian diner. Wooden floor, rickety chairs, tables spread around both rooms and a large long bar in front. There isn't much of an ambiance. I will tell you that I really want to like Porsena. The owner, Sarah Jenkins, has been part of the New York City food scene for a long time. I don't know her personally but all I hear is what a good person she is.
Service last night was terrible. Again, it could have been the night and server. But from the time we were sat until the check it was almost 2 1/2 hours. The waiter waited quite some time to even ask us if we wanted a drink or if we were interested in ordering. But lets move forward.
Fred started with the octopus. Baby octopus poached in olive oil mixed with slices of orange and chickpeas. The octopus was delicious and really cooked to perfection. The oranges and chickpeas did nothing for me.
The menu reads pasta pasta pasta. Fred has the special Papparella pasta with a duck ragu that has no tomatoes in it so the sauce was white. I was definitely expecting something different. It was good but not great.
I am attempting to take off some winter pounds. I had the roast chicken. Roast lemon chicken with capers over sauteed greens. It actually comes with mashed potatoes but I opted out on that. Well cooked. Nothing to write home about and super salty.
Porsena is ok not great. It reminds me of places I'd go to when I was in my 20's because although I always cooked home a few nights a week I certainly didn't do it as often as I do now. When I go out, I want to be wowed. I don't have to be wowed on everything I eat but I definitely want a certainly level of flavor and cooking and quite frankly Porsena doesn't have it.