Lunch at Fortina, Yonkers

I have a neighbor with whom I go to lunch on a fairly regular irregular basis. She had wanted to pay me for a sticky toffee pudding I made for her at Christmas, but I suggested she just pay for lunch the next time we went out. I have been jonesing for Chicken Parm for a while, and since we had talked about eating at Fortina, we decided to give it a go for lunch. Unfortunately, I would give my Chicken Parm, and the whole lunch, no more than a C+.

For me, a good Chicken Parm involves a chicken cutlet that is still crispy despite its veil of sauce and cheese. This chicken was mushy and seemed more pre-formed than being an actual piece of chicken. I also found the sauce to be too sweet. The side of spaghetti also had this sweet sauce on it, and I had to ask for some cheese to sprinkle on it. My friend had the pizzeria salad, and it, too, came with an unpleasantly sweet dressing. We had shared the wood-fired carrots with walnut crema to start, but the crema did not taste of walnuts and looked a little like library paste. The carrots were nearly raw.

Add that to the deafeningly loud music and it’s safe to say that we won’t be returning any time soon. Cross this one off the list.

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Ugh, I’m sorry you had such a bad lunch there! I’ve never had the chicken parm- they make it sound like a big chicken nugget with sauce and cheese so I guess it is some sort of Franken-chicken patty. We haven’t been to the one in Yonkers and based on your review wouldn’t bother! We usually stick to the pasta and pizza at the one in Armonk.

We’ve had two meals at the Stamford location. Full disclosure: we are related by marriage to one of the investors. We had a really fabulous engagement party dinner there in September 2019. But boss man was in the house with us.

I’ve only had the pizza there in terms of entrees. Excellent at the engagement party, just adequate on another visit.

That’s basically what it is. I had heard great things about it so that’s what I had on our one and only visit (Yonkers location). Mine was relatively crispy on the outside, but very tender (almost to the point of mushiness) inside - I think they use thigh meat and glue pieces of it together to create that texture. It was good but nothing I would order again, and the loud music and other service issues have kept us from returning.

ETA: I just reread the post I wrote after our dinner there (well over a year ago) and I specifically commented on liking the tomato sauce because it was bright and acidic. I am guessing they changed the recipe - no way I would have enjoyed it if it had been sweet!

I actually remember hearing that before about the chicken parm. It’s more like those pre-formed patties of chicken rather than an actual cutlet. We have not been to Fortina in a while. We go to Armonk when we go. I do love their pizza but you really have to be in the mood for the deafening music. They try to create a party atmosphere. Sometimes you just want quiet. So, when I’m in the mood for pizza, lately I go to Locali in Mt. Kisco. Love that place and it’s quiet and the food is great too!!

We had dinner at Fortina in Yonkers last Thursday on a whim. Food was terrific - I remembered the portions being rather small on our last visit, but they seem to have increased the size of some dishes since then, so we accidentally WAY over-ordered. Fried meatballs, beans with escarole, calamari, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and the half chicken scarpariello. Aside from the beans needing a touch of salt and the vegetables being a touch undercooked, everything was fantastic. We ended up taking most of the veg and chicken home, and found the vegetables to be better reheated - still al dente but cooked.

What was not fantastic was the service and the noise. It was a slow Thursday with no more than 25% of the tables taken and almost no one sitting at the bar, but our drink order still took 25 minutes. Our waitress tried three times to take dishes away while we were obviously still working on them, and never came back to take our orders for a second round of drinks. The music was abusively loud until the live duo started - they were still a bit louder than I would prefer while dining, but at least there was no thumping bass. Add uncomfortable chairs and it made for a pretty unpleasant experience despite the fantastic food. Since a lot of what we ordered traveled well, we’ll do takeout only going forward.

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I had lunch there once. Once. The chicken parm was pre-formed chicken. The service was terrible and the noise was deafening. I see no reason to return ever. Not for take out and not for dining in. At least your food was good!

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Fortina is basically a self-imposed party atmosphere. Loud music, bright and colourful decor, and ultra-cheery staff. It’s the Starbucks of pizza. Lots of re-worked pizza with higher quality ingredients but also noticeably higher prices. The “buzz” about their chicken parm when they introduced it was that it was mostly thigh meat, which is more flavourful. Truth be told , chicken parm is all about the texture of chewy gooey cheese and a great red sauce. The chicken flavour is almost secondary. So they upped the price by making a variation which includes more chicken. flavour (still barely noticed) and made it chewable for those without teeth and tacked on a surcharge. Any good Italian/pizza joint should be able to serve up the real deal rather than a modified mush of chicken. I’ve been to Fortina several times and each time I feel as if “sucker” has been stamped on my forehead. I can see going in a large group for a festive time, but as a restaurant to just enjoy the meal….no thanks

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