Dang! I really really wanted to like the new Pomodori. I had been to the former location quite a few times and always loved it. So here goes, in the spirit of constructive criticism.
The dinner hours are very strange, even for quiet downtown Medford. Dinner hours from 4PM-8PM on a Friday night was very odd. I had to rush to get there before 8PM and it was packed with diners who obviously made the “early to bed” adjustment. For a fine dining establishment, I suggest at least modifying the hours to 5PM-9PM.
The new décor is excellent, with lots of exposed brick, and it is much lighter and modern than at the old location. I liked the small hanging lights, dropped at differing lengths (except that the lowest one at the bar was blinding and I had to move away from it). The bar area is beautiful, with very attractive displays and a nice sliding ladder to reach the higher items. My only negative comment about the ambiance centers on the two single tables perched in the windows on either side of the entrance. The venue probably used to be a small store of some sort with the usual merchandise display windows. So the owners just put one table up high on each of the raised window display areas. The impression from the outside was reminiscent of the windows in the red light district in Amsterdam! Why not just perform some minor construction and lower those two tables to floor level?
So on to the wine list. The restaurant had an excellent selection of wines by the glass and by bottle, with great emphasis on the wines of Oregon. I tried a sample of their house red (an Oregon blend) and did not like it at all. I then asked to try a merlot and discovered that it was one of their “keg” wines, wines which gushed from some hidden source and created lots of bubbles as it was dispensed. I knew I wasn’t going to like it and I was right. No “keg” wines for me. I finally settled on a delicious Oregon zin and was very happy with that choice.
As for service, I could tell at a glance that the restaurant was overwhelmed by a full house, compounded by their huge menu of more than 30 main courses. Staff seemed a little frazzled. Due to the crowd and no reservation, I sat at the bar. Service was not the best, but ameliorated by the gregarious bartender/server. I still chuckle as I remember him continually referring to me as “boss”. I found it ingratiating, although I was mentally transported to the chain gang in the movie “Cool Hand Luke”, where the officers were always referred to as “boss”.
I was not offered an appetizer menu, although I noticed one later as I was leaving. The menu I was given only offered main courses which included a soup or salad. Prices were very reasonable for everything. The salad plate I selected was large and contained assorted less than crisp greens, but the other condiments and dressing sort of compensated (garbanzos, cucumbers, etc.). So I ordered Pork Chop Saltimbocca stuffed with sun dried tomatoes and gorgonzola. I was a little hesitant about this combination, but decided to try it anyway. It was not a good marriage. The sundried tomatoes and the gorgonzola just did not blend well, and there was so much of the stuffing that the pork chop seemed to be an afterthought. Luckily I scraped off most of the stuffing after about two bites, and found that the pork chop could have stood on its own – it was very tender, succulent and highly flavorful. The chop was centered on a bed of orzo which would ordinarily have been a good pairing, except that the orzo was excessively greasy.
The dessert menu offered a number of excellent choices and I was very pleased with the variety. I ordered Black Forest Cake and it arrived in a large ramekin which would serve two people easily. Although it looked great, it was dry and tepid, giving me the impression that it was not baked recently and that a quick nuke was inadequate to bring it back to life and warmth.
I did not have coffee, but noticed that the coffee maker was one of those perk types which emptied into large tall thermos jugs. I didn’t see more than 2 cups poured the entire time I was there, so I guess coffee is not a big seller (surprising in a town with an unusually large number of funky little drive-by coffee kiosks). Anyway, I do not know how they would do espresso or cappuccino, but at some point if profits allow, I would recommend an investment in real upscale coffee equipment.
I really want this restaurant to succeed and notice that most of the other reviews are much more positive. It was just not on point for me on this first visit to the new venue, and I regret I could not give higher scores. I will return and try Pomodori again, hopefully with better results.
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