Figlio—the Uptown Italian staple that shuttered in 2009—is not only back from the dead, it's alive and kicking in the Shops at West End complex in St. Louis Park. But, straight out of a moral dilemma from The Walking Dead, the Star Tribune's Rick Nelson doesn't seem to know whether to tolerate zombie Figlio or put it out of its misery. Nelson begins his review of Figlio 2.0 with what reads like a slam: saying the name could translate to "money machine," quoting his friend as saying "This place is like an ATM with a kitchen," and giving a grade of C- to an early visit. On that early visit:
Our harried and forgetful server slogged us from one culinary land mine to another: rubbery, aggressively seasoned pastas, all artlessly blanketed with the same grated cheese-parsley garnishes. Dry, stringy chicken satays. A beautiful timbale of silken raw tuna and avocado, ruined by toasts that could have come out of a Melba package. A dull baked ricotta, spread on olive oil-soaked bread. Dessert? An amateur-hour banana cake and an embarrassingly bad apple crisp.
But a few weeks later, "redemption was in the air." Still, the turnaround is a bit ambiguous, couched in phrases like this one, about the "uncomplicated" ravioli: "Earth-shattering, no. But totally satisfying." Nelson continues, mentioning the chicken breast, steak, burgers, and pot roast with this faint praise: "As with so many covers-all-the-bases menus, the kitchen's least complicated work is its most reliable."
[Photo: Diversified Construction]