Wednesday 6 May 2009

Cozy Neighborhood Joint Basil Offers Cozy Bathroom With Some Odd Inclusions

Basil Ristorante & Pizzeria Italiano
920 US 1
Sebastian, FL USA

Where is it?

This is a small, narrow, rectangular dining room that seats maybe 15 or so tables at most. Guests enter from the far right of the dining room (with your back to the door); the kitchen and waiter stations are opposite the entrance, along the back wall, with the proper dining room opening to the left and extending the length of the place.

To get to the bathroom, turn left from the entrance and head through the dining room to the far back wall. Once there, turn right and slip into the short hallway located just beyond the back right of the dining room. The toilets are both there, as is a supply closet and the restaurant's air conditioning system.

What's it like?

This is cozy, humble little neighborhood Italian eatery serves some delicious, well-portioned and well-priced food that's a cut or two above the standard pizza joint fare or what you'll find at Olive Garden. It isn't a flashy place: Small, reliable and friendly, with a small staff that's from Italy and family based.

The menu houses a number of familiar items, from eggplant and chicken Parmesan to various pasta dishes to pizzas and calzones to Mediterranean-inspired fish, poultry and meat dishes. I've been here a few times and each time has been very good. The sauces here are particularly noteworthy, as they incorporate a touch of peppery heat to them that you don't expect. In most cases, places like these dwell on sweeter tomato sauces; here, they offer something more nuanced and textured, which I liked.

Service is attentive and down to earth -- you get the impression, once you step through the doors, that this is a place with many regulars. And for good reason. A pleasant stop worth making if you're in the neighborhood and in the middle for decent Italian.

The bathrooms are pretty straightforward affairs here. One-baggers that are simple and non-flashy, like the rest of the place. Dimly lit, with faux brick red tile on the floor and white drywall walls, white porcelain toilet, white porcelain sink.

The walls are pretty bare, except for two framed maps (those old-looking topographic ones you see everywhere), one of Italy and one of the world. Essentially, the bathroom is about the same as what you'll find at the nearby Long Point Cafe, only that one is all white and better lit (and has a Billy the Bass talking fish on the wall).

Decor-wise, I don't mind the simplicity of the place, but I wouldn't have minded either if the designers had gotten a little more creative with things. Not necessarily to the extent of what was seen at NYPD Pizza in Orlando, but perhaps something approaching the homeyness of the Burr Trail Grill in Utah. It would certainly suit the place well, I think.

Cleanliness-wise, the place was spot on, though at the same time it's showing its age in places -- areas are looking a bit dingy in spots, like the sink and the corners. Nothing drastic though. It was clean and odor free.

However, it did have a couple of oddities.

For one, the sound of the air conditioning unit down the hall created quite a rumble inside here when it was on. Good for privacy, but also it made me think at first that I was relieving myself while an earthquake was starting up.

Secondly, I found a bunch of loose tissues placed above the paper towel dispenser. Was a box of tissues not available? I hope the managers realize this is a bit creepy, as I doubt anyone will use the items because they are placed there loosely.

Thirdly, the paper towel holder is set remarkably high on the wall next to the toilet. About two feet up from the handicap assistance bar, making it a bit of a reach for people who are height-challenged, if you will.

Not the worst place I've ever seen such items placed before (the worst would be the third-floor bathroom at Bloomingdale's in Orlando) but you'd think it would be a little easier to reach, considering the circumstances behind it.

Marks out of 10:

6. Cozy, standard one-bagger, but its oddities drop it down from the standard 7 score.

Comments to the Management:

Not sure you can do much about the rumble produced by the air conditioning unit, as it is where it is and this Florida; not even sure if piped in music will help, because it would have to be pretty loud to drown out the hum, and in that case it might disturb your diners. As for the rest: You can always move the TP holder down a little if you choose, and the loose tissues can be easily discarded -- just leave a box up there in the future.

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