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Monday, May 10, 2010


I’ve wanted to hit up Chiapparelli's for several months. Living down the street from it in Little Italy, I figured it was only fair to try each restaurant so when tourists asked me where they should go, I would be able to give them a more informed opinion. What I have to say about this visit can be summed up in two words: Je regrette.

When we first walked in I was overcome with joy by the cranked a/c. (It was 88 degrees outside and about 107 in our house). The restaurant is beautiful. Clean, quiet, tables all set to perfection. It’s a lovely picture to look at. Then we were handed plastic coated menus. With a wine list on the back. Really? No, really? Taking turns between looking around and looking at the one dimensional menu, I noticed a few things right away. 1. the salads are HUGE. 2. the waiters all workout at the same gym and have the bodies to show it. I was half expecting an all male revue style show halfway through dinner. So, at least you have something pretty to look at while you mindlessly swallow your bland food. Oops, I think I just gave away the ending.

We started with apps, me with fried ravioli and Dave with fried calamari (we like our foods fried, ok?) and then ordered our entrees, Dave with the Gnocchi Bolognese and myself with the Shrimp Nicola and then waited for everything to arrive. Including Dave’s refill, which our waiter promised to deliver after he dropped off water for some other guy, then some plates, then some other stuff, then ran by our table apologizing, then some more running, Yawn, oh there it is, finally. The salads came out with the apps (which was weird and probably should not have happened, right?) So I was alternating between forkful of delicious plate of lettuce, and bland bland ravioli with surprisingly good marinara sauce for dipping. Dave’s calamari was pretty good, even though it was squid. As I ate more of my salad, it felt to me like Chip’s was trying to crack the Olive Garden’s recipe, got pretty close, and then gave up. The salad was good, there was just too much of it.

Now for the entrees. Everything LOOKED really good. My linguine was floating in a sea of buttery sauce, cradling shrimp and steaming hot. Dave’s was the traditional marinara with meat and tomato with little gobs of gnocchi. We each took a bite. Then took a bite of each other’s, then traded. Mine was a little bland and oily for my taste (mine being the Shrimp Nicola) and Dave just found his rather unappetizing with all those chunks of tomato in there. His gnocchi was a little on the hard side (this is where I would like to suggest that IF you are in Little Italy and IF you want to try gnocchi THEN you must go to La Tavola. They have the BEST gnocchi I’ve ever tasted). Luckily I was full after just a few bites. Unluckily I’m now staring a bowl of sub-par gnocchi in the face for lunch today. Dave cleaned his plate so he gets to eat a Whopper for lunch. That bastard.

We opted to skip dessert this time. We would be willing to give this place 3 noms, had our waiter not taken 20 minutes to get us our bill then cash us out. For that, he lost a dollar and a nom. That’s how we roll.

Our rating: 2 out of 5 noms

The good thing is that this place offers easy vegetarian fare. The bad thing is the food is bland. 2 noms.

Price Breakdown:
Apps average $8.64
Pastas average $19
Chicken/Veal average $21.45
Seafood average $24.33
Children's Menu is $8 and includes a beverage

Dave's 2 Cents:
My review starts before we even enter the building. Hey Chiapparelli's! How many Valets do you REALLY NEED!!

Chip's valets are everywhere and stand in the middle of the street like they own the block. Not only that but I was amazed that they left their key kiosk (the place where they store YOUR CAR KEYS) unattended for 12 minutes!! The kiosk isn't even locked, its held but what looks like velcro.
Living a few blocks from this restaurant, we also get to see (on a nightly basis) how the valet treat the cars after they drive off with them.

If you love your car, park it yourself. Your car's tires will thank you.

The restaurant is definitely visually appealing, but that glamor goes away with the horrible wait-staff and sub-par Italian slop. After swapping my dish with something edible that my wife had, I was able to complete a meal. Unfortunately one of those 2 dishes haunted me for the rest of the evening into the night.

Chiapparelli's on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

My first time at Chip's...lovely outside, clean inside, horribly bland food. Between our group there was Penne, Lasagna, Chicken Parmigiana and Veal. While the Veal was tasty there was but a teaspoon of bland sauce on it, I had my heart set on BEEF Lasagna and thats what I ordered but not one speck of beef was to be found. The Chicken Parm was just dreadful, a dry flop of frozen chicken with yes, a teaspoon of bland sauce. The Penne was, yes you're right b-l-a-n-d, not a spice in sight.
If you have your heart set on a GREAT salad this is the place for you, on great food...skip it.
Oh, and the waiters ? lol...yes they do all seem as though they tear off their pants to reveal a g-string while a '80's disco beat plays in the background.
1-Star for the salad. I'll take my other 4-Star's someplace else.

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