I am slightly embarrassed that Marshal Mike and I went to the following restaurant, but I decided that it was so bad that you all had to know not to ever patronize this sorry excuse for a restaurant.
Apparently the translation of Ristorante Murali is "Worst Restaurant Ever." Seriously, we felt like tourists in a foreign country (no, not Italy) that stumbled upon the first restaurant near the train station (or something like that). The decoration is really cheesy and that should have set off my bullshit alarm, but unfortunately my hunger overshadowed my bullshit monitor.
First of all, the glass of Orvieto I ordered tasted like white grape juice. Now, I like white grape juice, but not for $7.50 a glass and not disguised as wine. Then the bread basket arrived:
Really? There are no words.
I love bread. I will eat all bread put in front of my face. I will not eat this bread. It was the whitest, most tasteless carbohydrate block I have ever tasted. There was clearly no salt in the bread dough and the texture was all wrong. The obligatory dish of olive oil did not help it at all.
To start we shared an arugula parmesan salad. It wasn't the best we've ever had, but it certainly wasn't the worst. Things were looking up! Except for the girls sitting next to us. One was telling the other all about her dating exploits. The last guy she went on a date with was obsessed with alien conspiracies. Apparently organized religion exists because humans need to make sense of aliens. What? Oh, and he was short and couldn't hold up a conversation unless he was talking about aliens. And she always wears 4 inch heels, so a short guy with no personality was just not going to cut it. Please stop. Now.
So back to the food. The waitstaff brought my pizza next. I let it sit for a couple minutes in the hope that MM's gnocchi would be quick to follow. No such luck, so we decided we should try the pizza while it was still warm(ish).
Yes, it is as bad as it looks
As MM so acutely pointed out: "Mama Celeste is in the back and she microwaved this pizza just for you." Oye. This was supposed to be pizza margherita. It was pounds of mozzarella on not that great sauce. The crust, however, was crispy and tasty. Shocking, I know. Pretty much the only redeeming quality of the entire restaurant. We kept thinking we were on one of those trick TV shows, where someone jumps out of the side of the frame exclaiming that we were actually eating frozen food from the supermarket. Aren't we shocked? No, not really.
After we each ate one piece of pizza, MM's gnocchi arrived:
Doesn't even look appetizing...
Oye again. These poor gnocchi do not deserve the name. They were gummy and heavy and had no taste. And the sauce "tasted like they opened a bottle of Ragu and dumped it over the top." (Can you tell MM loved this place, or what?) So he choked down most of the gnocchi (literally making a gagging face as he ate them). We could not get out of there fast enough. The girls next to use were still blabbing about their dating mishaps over coffee. Why you would want to stick around in that place is beyond me.
Moral of the story: if you ever find yourself in the Pentagon City area and are hungry, do not go to Ristorante Murali. Instead, call me, we live very close and I can make you something (anything) that will be better than the crap churned out at this place.