I recently visited Salvatore's based on recommendations from friends and after reading the reviews I decided to give them a try. Was I ever disaapointed.
I was born in Naples, Italy, my mother is native and I have been back many times over the years. Growing up eating authentic italian, I feel I can comment on what good italian food is and I can assure you, Salvatore's missed the mark.
We were promptly seated by a very nice hostess, who was very accomadating to my wife as she has a broken food and we were seated in a booth close to the entrance so my wife didn't have to navigate the crowded dining room on crutches. The waitress was prompt with bringing waters and garlic rolls. The garlic rolls were freshly made, were very soft and delicious and the marinara sauce was a perfect accompanyment for dipping. We ordered the ensalada de caprese as an appetizer. It is served on a bed of romaine, the tomatoes where actually quartered roma tomatoes that could have used a little more time in the sun, as the were a little too firm. The mozzerella is made fresh on premise and is very delicious, and the appetizer was perfectly seasoned with the the right amount of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and basil. This appetizer would be better if slicing tomatoes were used and the ingredients stacked. All in all this was a decent appetizer.
My wife had just a slice of pizza since she is a light eater and did nothing but rave about it, so I take it that it must have been good. My meal on the otherhand left a lot to be desired.
I asked the waitress about the eggplant parmigana and how it was prepared. What I wanted to know was, do they used prepackaged heavily breaded eggplant cutlets like most places that call themselve italian use or do they take the time to prepare the eggplant properly? I was assured that they prepare fresh eggplant daily for their meals and that nothing on the menu served there is prepackaged. I decided to give it a try and had the bowl of spaghetti with tomato sauce as it's side.
Maybe she needs to visit the kitchen a little more often because what I got was prepackaged, very heavily breaded eggplant cutlets. It was so crunchy, overfried and extremely dry. Basicly it was three thick eggplant cutlets, stacked with a little sauce on top and a huge glob of what looked like melted provolone cheese. There was no sauce between the layers, no basil, and no mozzerala cheese. I love a good eggplant parmigana, and will continue my quest to find a good one in the Hampton Roads area, it is definately not here for sure. The real kicker is the spaghetti... How does one mess that up? Well if you like spaghetti soup then you will like it here. The spaghetti came to me, lukewarm first of all. The spaghetti wasn't lubricated with the sauce, (meaning it was plain pasta with some sauce poured on top) the pasta was stiff and hard, and to top it off, half the bowl was filled with water. I had to request a empty bowl, just to pour off the water. The marinara sauce was the same used for roll dipping. Don't get me wrong, the dipping marinara is good, and you can tell it is homemade, but at least they could have a different sauce for the pasta dishes, such as a tomato ragu maybe.
Will I be back? Maybe. My wife seems to like the place and she's the only reason I didn't rate it lower. As for me, not if i can help it, she will have to drag me in kicking and screaming.
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