Critic is far from Gaga over star's parents' eaterie

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The Independent Online

It would be hard to describe Lady Gaga as underwhelming, but that's the impression a critic in New York was given on attending the opening night of her parents' new Italian restaurant.

Not even an appearance by jazz singer Tony Bennett could lighten Steve Cuozzo's mood, as he endured a two-and-a-half hour meal at Joanne Trattoria, resulting in a savage review in the New York Post.

"Appetisers took 50 minutes to arrive. Grilled calamari with bitter greens and radicchio were the worst I've had in a lifetime of squid-mongering, the salad unseasoned and the calamari like leather," he wrote, going on to complain about a shellfish dish that "recalled the flaccid pasta commonly doled out along Long Island's Jericho Turnpike – or at 35,000 feet."

The price of the dishes was also a sore point. A four-course prix fixe selection cost £41, while on the à la carte dessert menu, a chocolate mousse was almost £9. The "unspeakably fatty" veal main course was £24.

"You don't expect a brand-new eatery to be running on all cylinders," Cuozzo added. "But Joanne... last night was running mainly on acrid-smelling burnt vinegar wafting... through the raucous dining room."

The bad reviews will come as a shock to owners, Cynthia and Joe Germanotta, who employed respected chef Art Smith to head the kitchen.

Smith, who used to be the personal chef to Oprah Winfrey, spoke well of his proprietors.

He said: "Everything from the menu to the decor has a bit of their family in it. It's why everything is so warm and approachable."

But Cuozzo merely said he "felt sorry" for the 51-year-old expert in Southern cuisine.

The restaurant is named after Lady Gaga's aunt, who died of lupus, aged 19.