If you want your wife to divorce you, take her to Padano with your whole family, including your parents. By the end of the two-hour ordeal, you could be well on your way to a matrimonial lawyer.
Fortunately for me, our marriage appears strong enough to survive it. But for those who are not so lucky, my cautionary tale follows. We previously reviewed Padano in 2016.
It all started off innocently enough with plans to go to our favorite Thai restaurant in Loggers’ Run this Sunday evening. I arrived early and discovered the place was full with two large parties taking up most of the place. This was apparently planned by my friends Shane and Susan from Lake Worth, who had a party near me but didn’t invite me, all part of their scheme to keep us from enjoying our dinner.
I called my wife and suggested we meet at Padano in the same plaza instead. She hesitated, but decided to go along against her better judgment. I should have paid more attention to the tone in her voice, but I’ve never been good at that.
We walked into a mostly empty Padano around 5:45 pm. There was no one to seat us so I just chose a table. When our waiter-tormentor finally appeared he seemed flustered at my decision but he didn’t argue with us. Not yet. That was still to come. For those unfamiliar with fiction what you just read is called subtle foreshadowing.
It all seemed to be going well at first. Sure we knew the service could be slow but the drinks and ordering process weren’t too bad. The waiter again made a face when I asked for no cheese on the salad, but the arguments would come later.
I shared that salad with my mother, a vegan. My wife had a soup.
The waiter was surprised when I asked for bread, but he did bring it out including the requested butter. If you’re wondering where it all goes downhill, it’s coming soon. The salad was fine. I’m told the soup was mushy and flavorless.
After the salad I went over to chat with my old friend Nick I saw at a nearby table. He and his parents had arrived well after us but don’t worry for them – they escaped before we did, apparently unscathed.
During our conversation the waiter came and took their order so I returned to my table, then went back after they ordered. The conversation continued for quite some time. I kept looking back at our table to see when the entrees would come, but that didn’t happen for a while so we kept chatting.
Eventually I returned to our table and learned the delay had triggered some concern from certain family members who shall remain unidentified. This is not to protect them, but rather to protect myself from them.
I tried to explain that this was a great opportunity to see the humor in life, like in the Seinfeld Chinese restaurant episode. For those inclined toward the divorce strategy you should really include this in your plan. As a bonus it may come up in your children’s future psychotherapy sessions.
About 45 minutes after we ordered, the waiter brought out an order of the special Padano bread. Apparently it’s supposed to be a form of garlic bread but is not nearly as good as undercooked Pepperidge Farm frozen garlic bread.
This was also the moment when one of the older members of our party asked where our entrees were, which prompted an argument with the waiter. As a part of the argument offered to take the garlic bread away. Sadly he relented.
I should note that one of my weaknesses as a writer is that I find it difficult to convey periods of delay. Let’s just say the entrees took a while. I first noticed the delay while chatting with those friends I mentioned a half-hour ago in this article. It felt like it took three times longer for the entrees to finally arrive.
To put it in numbers it took over an hour from the time we ordered until our entrees arrived. Most of our entrees. Mine took an extra five minutes. I’m guessing it’s more challenging for them to make this unusual dish, called Chicken Padano.
I’m told the meat in the Chicken Francese was okay, but the sauce had less flavor than Wonderbread. Two members of our party had ordered that dish. Neither ate more than a few bites. The waiter offered to bring something else out but we declined because we wanted to get home before midnight. He took one of them off the bill.
There were bright spots to the meal. The Arugula Pear salad was tasty. My Chicken Padano and the Chicken Scarpariello were both pretty good.
But there were other bad moments. My personal favorite was when the waiter finally came with drink refills and argued with my elderly mother when she said she wanted to keep her original glass of lemonade. It took three tries for me to persuade him not to argue with an old woman. Other lowlights include a malfunctioning paper towel dispenser in the men’s room, and a pizza-loving child who refused to eat due to all the stress of the experience.
When he brought boxes for me to take my food home I asked for the check. We waited another 10 minutes and then he came out to ask if we were ready for the check.
In short, the meal was a tragicomedy of errors. We will not be going back.