From the outside, it looks like something you might find on a college campus. Fun, but perhaps just a pizza and beer joint. Not that there's anything wrong with that. HOWEVER, this is a first class restaurant. My wife and I went there tonight. We just moved into the area and have been trying to find a good place to go to regularly, meeting different levels of disappointment. We tried Zingarella not sure what to expect. It was really something special.
First person at the door was the owner's sister, who quickly informed us that she works there as his slave for food and wine. Extremely pleasant woman, big smile, and very attentive. Our waitress was prompt and very pleasant right from the first hello. My wife ordered a glass of wine but wasn't sure if she would like it or not. Without asking, the waitress brought her a small sample of the wine before pouring the glass. I was going to comment that the glass was kind of small. In all my years working in and eating in restaurants, I never saw anyone just do that. She liked the wine by the way.
We had an appetizer of clams casino. Not the kind you get in most places. This is different. Not packed in with an ice cream scoop. More the texture of a clam cake, with a LOT of bacon on each. Nicely spiced and sauced. Salads were nice, but pretty regular for my taste. Enjoyable for a house salad.
The menu was great. Not too many selections, but all of them were tempting. I'm a fan of relatively limited menus. Places that have too many different things seldom do them all well. Zingarella has a nice selection of pasta, sautee's, appetizers, what looks like a great zuppa de pesce and pizza. I was tempted for the zuppa, but went with the veal lasagna. It was AWESOME. My wife had veal marsala. Also awesome. I HAD to help her eat it. I had the chocolate mousse, and she had tira mirsou. Both great. I even had them slip me a slice of pizza at the end, because I had to know if it measured up. It does.
The best part of all of this is that everybody working there knows what they are doing. A nice blend of understanding the urgency of what they are doing, and enjoying it too. It comes across to the customers. There is a very young lady, about 16, working the counter who is so zoned in at what she's doing it was impressive to watch. She was there to help all the staff, delivering dinners, clearing tables and working the register. We spoke at length with the owner about his staff, and he told me the young lady has only been working there for about a week. Truly amazing find!
This place has been open for a year. And Mark, the owner, never worked in or owned a restaurant before. That's the only thing that's pissing me off about this place. I worked in restaurants for over 20 years, and there is no way I could put a place together the way he did.
If you are in the Southington area and want someplace that is fun and special, this is the place to go. We'll be back. Often.
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