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It's always hard opening a restaurant in the city, but for a splashy, pricey newcomer like Farina, it might be even harder considering two of the finest restaurants in the entire city (Delfina and Range) are within a block radius. To make matters worse for Paolo Laboa's "Casual Elegant" Genovese restaurant, initial reviews on Yelp and Zagat were quite mixed upon his early-summer opening (sidenote: Bauer's review is still looming). What's a big-budget eatery to do?
Dare we say ... shill?
I had dinner at Farina with a couple of friends tonight. We shared a Focaccia di Recco, Gnocchi al Castelmagno, the pasta special of the day, and Pansotti al Sugo di Noci. We all agreed that the gnocchi and the pansotti were among the most authentic pasta dishes we've ever had in the US. By the way, when we fist ordered the gnocchi the waiter came back to say the they had run out of them. Then, after a few minutes, he came back to say that the chef had decided to make fresh gnocchi for us! Later the chef came to our table and explained how they import pine nuts from Pisa and other ingredients directly from Italy. Now wine is BYOB only, which gave us the opportunity to drink a bottle of Roero Arneis that has been sitting in my kitchen for too long...Oh, but it gets worse, or rather, better.
Shill Probability (despite specifically naming dishes): 55%
From a menu-centric site that shall remain nameless and linkless, we offer a retort to a pair of reviews that told the prospective diner to head to Delfina instead:
Took the excuse of some out of town friends visiting to try this place out and had a simply perfect evening. Each course was even more amazing that the last. All the wines we tried from their selection were lovely, and the grappa selection was an equal match. If you are one of the few people that responded with a negative review, I highly suggest giving it another shot and enlisting the advice of the staff. The few suggestions they made at our request were great compliments to the choices we had already made. A more authentic genovese meal can not be had in San Francisco! I can't wait to go back.Finally, "cynbrody" leaves his/her first and last review on good old Citysearch:
Shill Probability: 90%
We ate at Farina last night (Sunday, 6-17) and had a great meal. The pasta dishes were hand made and delicious. The decor is very interesting and different - modern with interesting touches of marble, retro chairs, one large communal table, counter seating...lots of ways to enjoy the dining experience.A private dining room on the second floor, sleek elevator to what will be a rooftop dining area soon. The service was very warm and helpful. Desserts were very tasty . The place was buzzing, and this before their liquor license goes into effect this weekend.Got shills? Send 'em our way.
Shill Probability: 99.4%
[Photo: Shannon Clark/Flickr]