Penne al Diavolo

ForkFest: Sicilian Pasta Kitchen (South)

A couple of weeks ago, Edmonton held its annual Fork Fest event, where participating restaurants prepare a set menu or select dishes of your choice for a price of $25 or $45. Over the two weeks (Sundays – Thursdays), I disappointingly managed to squeeze in one Fork Fest dinner, what with the cold weather, evening shifts, and changes of heart to prevent me from eating at multiple locations. On the last day of the event, Joe and I went to Sicilian Pasta Kitchen on the south side, as the downtown location wasn’t a part of the Fork Fest event. For some reason, I don’t recall ever going to either locations, yet there seems to be a lot of people who say it’s one of the best Italian restaurants in town.

Bread with Olive Oil and Balsamic

Bread with Olive Oil and Balsamic

The  dinner for the week was a three course menu, set at $25. You could just one dish from each category: appetizer, entrée, and dessert from a set menu separate from their usual fare. In addition, bread and butter started us off, with the option of olive oil and balsamic, which I happily opted for. The bread was warm, soft and not toasted, and the olive oil and balsamic seemed standard to me. Nothing new here.

Bruschetta Con Bocconcini

Bruschetta Con Bocconcini

I chose the bruschetta con bocconcini as my appetizer, the same French bread as before, brushed with EVOO and garlic. It’s suppose to be topped off with fresh diced tomatoes, oregano, crushed chili peppers, and finished with slices of Bocconcini cheese and red onion then toasted. What I received (late, I might add; the order wasn’t put through properly) lacked in any sign of cheese, and a warm mush of a salsa on top of the toasted bread. The first couple of bites weren’t so bad, but by the second slice, the tomatoes had rendered the bread soggy.

Salsiccia Con Arrostito Pepperone

Salsiccia Con Arrostito Pepperone

Joe ordered the salsiccia con arrostito pepperone – sliced Italian sausage sautéed with roasted peppers and caramelized onions in a tomato sauce with roasted potato wedges. The Italian sausage was spicy, and the tomato sauce was well seasoned and well made. I didn’t mind the potatoes although Joe didn’t touch them. What was notable about both our dishes was the portion. Ridiculous portion sizes for an appetizer! I was getting full just from that.

Cannelloni

Cannelloni

My entrée for the night was a beef cannelloni with a tomato cream sauce. I thought the sauce tried to make up the lack of flavor of the cannelloni itself, and serving it luke warm was not very pleasing . I managed to eat one of three tubes of the pasta before calling it quits. It could have been worst, at least it wasn’t dry, but it could have been much better.

Penne al Diavolo

Penne al Diavolo

Joe’s penne al diavolo looked a lot better. Although I personally thought the pasta was quite thick, he seemed to enjoy it. And the description of a spicy cayenne cream sauce did not lie, the taste of cayenne over powered a lot of other potential flavors of the dish, including the grilled chicken and shrimp, which I didn’t get a bite of in my forkful, nor could I see clearly on the dish.

Blackout Torte

Blackout Torte

Red Velvet Cake

Red Velvet Cake

Trying to blow through the entrée and onto desserts in hopes of better things, I ordered the blackout torte while Joe ordered the red velvet cake. Again, nothing special and again, I did not finish the dish.

I think thus far on the blog, this might have been one of the most uninspiring meals I’ve had. Perhaps it was the set menu, or maybe a “C team” in the kitchen on a Thursday night, but I don’t understand why SPK holds such high regards with some of my friends. The only bright side I could see with the meal was the portions, and even so, I’d rather go to Chianti’s on a Monday or Tuesday to get my fair share of pasta. In my opinion though, I’d rather pay the extra few dollars per dish to get an outstanding meal versus a standard bowl of pasta. I’m almost tempted to say I’d rather go to Boston Pizza on pasta Tuesdays, perhaps turn myself into more of a foodie, as their most recent commercial advertises.

Sicilian Pasta Kitchen (South)
805 Saddleback Road
(780) 435-3888

Sicilian Pasta Kitchen on Urbanspoon



There are 3 comments

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  1. Krispy

    I came here for Fork Fest too! Portions were huge, but quality was not so good. The only part that was ok was the red velvet cake, but even then it was a bit too artificial tasting… And then there’s the service… Our waitress was friendly enough, but generally the staff was very inattentive and I even saw a waitress drop a plate on a customer’s chest! Not even kidding… Each course took about half an hour to arrive and we finished our meal in just under 2 hours.

  2. L.

    I can’t vouch for the staff that worked on Thursday evening but on most nights that quality of the food is excellent. One must take into account the amount of people in the restaurant at the time and the number of people working on the line that day. They may have been short staffed, or the prep they required may not have been completed, leaving the kitchen scrambling that night. In regards to the food, I would love for a pasta from SPK and Boston pizza to be placed side by side and compared for quality. All the sauces from the Sicilian are prepared in house from fresh ingredients. Also, if you consider the appetizers to be quite large for the price that they charge, you should be recommending that people split one instead of criticizing the portion. I know the owners of the restaurant and the head chef works very hard to maintain his business, 18 hour days, I would like to see you put in that much effort.
    The server mixing up your bruschetta orders was a mistake, that I cannot fault this blog for, but complaining for the sake of complaining I can. You paid 25 dollars each for a three course meal and you expect more? Perhaps you should take your business somewhere else, but you can expect to pay over 100$ for the occasion.

    • cindy

      Thanks for your comment L. I do my best to consider what can affect the food or food service when I’m eating. Seeing that it was ForkFest, the restaurant was moderately filled and looked well staffed from what I could see. In terms of portion sizes, you must be misreading my comment for negative critique. This is a personal blog and I state my honest opinion. For a $25 set menu, the portions were large. Some people will view it as a plus, whereas some people will gladly exchange the portion sizes for better tasting food. I understand that to run a business, the owners, chef, and all staff members work hard, there really is no need to berate me on what hard work means. And as for taking my business elsewhere, I’ll have to agree with you on that one. But I can honestly say that for $25, I can get better Italian food, made from fresh ingredients and run by an independent family. Even other ForkFest participants managed to offer spectacular three course meals so my expectations are not high. If there was ever another opportunity to revisit SPK, I’ll gladly retry. Keep in mind this was my first and only experience there.


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