Villa Barone Ristorante is a very beautiful restaurant located in the Pelham Bay area of Bronx, NY, right off of the 6 train. It is quite easy to get to and finding parking is not too difficult. It probably gets a little hectic when the weather is nice, so you may have to consider just taking public transportation or circling the block a couple of times.
We ventured to Villa Barone on a chilly Saturday evening (6pm). The place was jumping! It was packed but nothing too overwhelming since the tables were nicely spaced out. People looked like they were having a good time. This is definitely a place where people come back often. The waiters and manager greeted folks like they were family. Unfortunately, we did not feel as welcomed towards the end of the meal.
The food was good. I had raviolis stuffed with mushrooms in a nice red sauce while my friend had a nice shrimp Parmesan dish. My meal was not the greatest, but it was good. The waiter forgot to bring one of the side dishes though. He mentioned that he forgot to tell us that the side dish was not available. The bread service was also good. Some of the bread was a little stale, but nothing to be turned off by.
Our issue came during dessert service. The menu shows actual pictures of the desserts. I was not terribly impressed by the selection. The waiter was very good about helping us pick a dessert. He up-sold us to a $6 dessert which was allegedly made with ice cream from Italy and included Marciano cherries and a hard chocolate shell. The manager and another gentleman brought out our desserts. They tasted ok, but were presented very poorly. Imagine a cupcake split in four and the wrapper left of the plate with the cake pieces hanging off. That was how our dessert was presented. I have been to Italy multiple times and this did not compare.
After our dessert plates were removed, my friend noticed that the same dessert was presented differently to adjacent patrons. It was beautifully plated and also included a nice helping of whip cream in the middle with a Marciano cherry. I forgot how it had been presented in a picture on the menu. We made the error known to our waiter, who really did not seem concerned. Usually, there is a apology somewhere. He did offer to bring us a plate of whip cream. I hope he was joking since our desserts were already finished.
The manager, who never offered a “Mi scusi” or “Come è stato il vostro pasto?”, took the coffee charge off of our bill. We were surprised that he never came to our table to address us since he spent much of the evening kissing and hugging customers. We just wanted the same RESPECT. If you make me feel welcomed or like my patronage matters, I will return. We felt our patronage was not that important to him. We decided to pay the cost of the coffee he took off of the bill to show it was not about the cost, but about the respect of one human being to another.
As a manager, why didn’t he have the sense to send something back to the kitchen knowing that it was so haphazardly plated? Isn’t he the one who sets the standards? I’m sure someone else would have gotten a little more love from management. We were not pushy or aggressive and made it known to our waiter that we were first time patrons and were not feeling the love. Our waiter just wanted to hightail it out and politely (or impolitely depending on how you look at it) made it known that the conversation was over.
People will still patron Villa Barone - the food is good so, why not? They may have a fantastic time, but I am really left with somewhat of a bitter taste in my mouth, especially since the evening was meant to celebrate a special event. Hey, I'll still have a good night's rest :0)) There are just too many options in NYC to care about this place.
Perhaps the right kind of people will get the right kind of service. I just know that I will not be returning to find out.
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