When asked to review Mona Lisa, the high price came to mind, but I came around to the idea as a Mother's Day dinner. Mona Lisa is a fine dining restaurant almost requiring an excuse to justify the indulgence, unless you are a fondue fanatic. The decor is elegant 19th century, reminiscent of a cozy Victorian country estate, with privacy for each party and low lighting, mixed with the self-consciousness-inducing element of Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" looking on from various prints throughout the restaurant.
Led to our booth by a friendly hostess, my sister and mother had already arrived and been briefed on the experience by our server. As it was only our second visit, I was disappointed that we weren't given the philosophy behind fondue and the layout of the courses. As it's not the type of place you visit all the time, an update would've been appreciated.
The service (which our server said is one of Mona Lisa's priorities) was flawed-drinks were forgotten and delivery seemed scattered and pressured. But the food.
The richness of the three courses turned out to be extremely filling, though the presentation was deceptively sparse. The first course consisted of bread and fruit to dip in our pick of two cheeses. The Florentine, made up of Creamy Havarti cheese, artichokes and spinach, was incredible. Full ratio: could've stopped then. We chose the traditional entrée for the second course, consisting of filet mignon, chicken, shrimp, sausage, salmon and vegetables to dip after haphazardly estimating the (hopefully) correct time on the grill. Full ratio: should've stopped then. The personal grills brought out instead of installed in the table reflected the establishment's high caliber. But during the second course, a voice suddenly blared over the restaurant's PA, announcing a fire-drill and not to be alarmed, no need to flee. Definitely a mood dampener. I wondered why the drill wasn't done at some other time, then wished that the announcement had at least said, "Attention! You are reaching full capacity. You have no willpower!" But, alas, it didn't, and I fully enjoyed the dessert course of cheesecake, strawberries, brownies and more for our choices with two chocolate-based fondues. We left extremely full. The food really is that good, so what wasn't up to my expectations won't prevent a future visit.
-Jen Parsons is good to her mama.