Watching the giant platters of Italian food coming out of the kitchen at Chianti on Marbledale Road in Tuckahoe is always a trip. But they also make giant sized heros (12" or 16"), wraps and burgers, too. Chef Paul is a big guy who likes to cook big. I usually have to share or take half home. It is fun watching patrons give it their best shot…
I really don’t get the appeal of these “big” foods. Our local pizzeria is known for its giant slices. I don’t get it. The price is as high as two slices, so why one giant one? I have to say, at least it’s good - used to be awful and big, but new owners have made it a tasty pie. Their regular pies are normal.
It is amusing to me, but the food at Chianti is quite good, too…
I have been to several places you recommend, and thought all were mediocre at best. I now know to never eat at any places you recommend, ever again. We have completely different ideas of what is good. And I am a trained chef, and restaurant/bar and food business consultant.
Last night I went to Gina Marie’s Chianti in Tuckahoe on Marbledale Rd. I hadn’t been to the last reincarnation in Eastchester, but had been a customer at their original Fleetwood location. The service was very good. The food, very poor. Small servings of poor quality renditions of 1980/90’s generic Italian food. Sauces were way too sweet, and poor quality with frozen ingredients. Minestrone soup lacked any flavor or spicing. My buddy is not a foodie and will eat almost anything, and he complained about how boring the soup was. He had chicken marsala and though it was just passable. I tasted it and the sauce was overwhelmingly flavored with cheap, sickly sweet marsala, and over cooked mushrooms, that lacked any real flavor. The chicken was sliced or pounded very thin, and dry. I had veal favorita with artichokes, peas, proscuitto, and sherry in a brown sauce. It was sickly sweet as well, made with a lousy sherry, and again super thin slices of the supposed veal, which were dry and tasteless. It could have been chicken except for the veal color. No prosciutto that I could tell, and the artichokes tasted canned, and the peas were frozen with freezer burn.
This was one of the most mediocre “Italian” meals I have ever had.
Also the cocktail menu was from the 1990’s, and poorly executed at that. And the wines were poor quality as well.
Thanks for your rant, JMF. You are entitled to your feelings. I have never known Chianti to serve small portions of anything, especially at dinner. And in my original post I was just talking about their big sandwiches and burgers. You are right, though. It is not trendy, but it can be very satisfying. Most recently I took home half my Chicken Scarpariello prepared on the bone. It was even more delicious the following day.
By the way, would love to hear about some of your favorites from time to time…
With all due respect, with the exception of portion size which used to be gargantuan, I haven’t been there in quite some time so I can’t vouch for current portion size although pretty much every place has scaled back, JMF’s review of the food is accurate … I would have to agree with him regarding some of your other recommendations as well that have left me scratching my head … different strokes
Agreed, different strokes…
Such amusing ‘opinions’.
Hey, they have a free parking lot. You’d love it.
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Thanks for your rant, JMF. You are entitled to your feelings. [/quote]
Rant? Negative review yes, my strong and educated opinions, yes. Rant, no.
And at least I gave specific reasons why I didn’t like it, including what was bad about the exact dishes I had. I don’t think I would ever say a general, “I liked the food”, or “I had x,y,z and it was good.” Or how nice the decor is. Or a general announcement about some place, with no personal experience of it.
As for recommendations in Westchester, I have been really disappointed the past few years. Certain types of places I just don’t go to. I can do much the same or better myself. And when I do go it is often as the guest of the chef opening a new place, usually in Manhattan or Brooklyn. (Gack! I hate much of the hipster hood that my childhood home has become. I liked it when it was gritty, before full scale gentrification set in.) Part of what I do for a living is working with restaurants and bars to teach them techniques, especially new ones, and to create new dishes or drinks, etc. And then I am usually upset 9 times out of 10 to see how they dumbed down the dishes/recipes I created, because they really don’t care about quality and excellence in general. So much more talk, than walk. So I’m bored much of the time by typical American restaurants and bars.
When I go out to eat I like small, mom n pop, ethnic places where I can experience something close to what I have experienced in my food travels around the world. (And country.) I most often go to Queens, or the Bronx, sometimes Manhattan, to eat out.
I won’t go into detail, since it’s been awhile and I don’t have any notes or a recent visit to discuss. Portchester has some great Latin places. I really like Aquario Peruvian much of the time. So far I think it is the best Peruvian outside of Queens. For home style Japanese I used to love Fujinoya in Hartsdale, but they went downhill with the new owners the past year or two. In New Rochelle there are a lot of regional Mexican, and Peruvian places. I’ve only been to two of the Peruvian places there and they were pretty good. Carta Brava is sort of nouveau Peruvian, which I liked surprisingly, while Lineas de Naska is more traditional. I like a lot of the dishes, and tacos, at Tecalitan Mexican, which is very good homestyle cooking. For regional Chinese, some of the dishes at Imperial Wok in North White Plains are excellent, when the main chef is there. (I have had a few visits that underwhelmed me, bummer but it happens.)
Hey, they have a free parking lot. You’d love it.
I know that’s a cheap shot, but even free parking does not a happy deedee make.
I loathed and despised the original Gina Marie in Eastchester, thanks to jamming my entree at me whilst I was eating my appetizer, and a manager who sided with the very rude waiter. Thankfully it closed.
We went to the new Gina Marie once and it is quite underwhelming, but the service was much better.
I have been to several places you recommend, and thought all were mediocre at best. I now know to never eat at any places you recommend, ever again.
With this, I have to agree.
You would hate the drink I am fond of at the current moment, an Old Fashioned, and where I’ve found one I love, Dudley’s in New Rochelle.
On drinks, Modern On The Rails, a place to which you couldn’t pay me to return - and they have free parking! - made me a Boxcar. I’m not an expert, as you are, so I can’t say if it was properly made, but it was enjoyable.
Impressive credentials and very impressive list, JMF. Keep us posted…
OK, sorry about the cheap shot. You just make it so easy with the parking thing.
Actually I love Old Fashioned’s, and especially inventive modern versions. I always put at least one traditional Old Fashioned, and a few modern versions on the menus at places I work with. One of my favorite New Fashioned’s I created and put on the menu at two places was a Gin Quince Old Fashioned. Made with Tuthilltown Half Moon Orchard gin, house made quince syrup, and an award winning cocktail bitters I put on the market a few years ago. (I won’t name the brand since the recipe changed after I left the business.) (I made the fresh quince syrup in bulk in my lab since I use a centrifuge to clarify and express the syrup from quince puree. I have one of the top handful of beverage labs in the country/world. I have worked or staged at the other three top ones. One is in Manhattan, one in Riverdale, and one in London.) I even put a “pick your poison” Old Fashioned list on the menu at a private club in NYC where you pick the spirit, modifier/s, and sweetener, to get a custom Old/New Fashioned.
I haven’t been to Dudley’s this Millennium, but have a friend who goes often since she lives in NR. Next time she invites me I will try the OF.
We were in the mood for take out last night, red sauce in particular, so I went over to Chianti, Tuckahoe for some Spaghetti & Meatballs and a side of Broccoli with garlic & oil, an old favorite. When I got home we noted that they had added a big house salad with a tangy Italian dressing on the side, and a large house made Italian-style cream puff filled with sort of a cannoli cream. Meatballs were tennis ball size. Could not finish it all, of course, good for another day. But somehow we managed to knock off the cream puff. All quite good, too…