Went here with family during a recent visit to Rochester, NY. Walking into this small restaurant I was pretty underwhelmed and more than a little disappointed. Before we left, I knew I would be back. And two nights later I was! Let me be clear, this is not a place to go for an upscale experience. Rather, it's an immensely cozy spot for very good Italian with a “no- frills-but-lots-of-character” vibe. The tables are all worn, the chairs mismatched, some a little lopsided, and the napkins are little more than large worn wash cloths. But the service is warm, welcoming and attentive, and the food is simple and really very good. The meal begins with complimentary fresh Italian bread and olive oil.Unlike many, if not most of the Italian spots I have tried in that neck of the woods, everything isn’t covered with what seems to be the Rochester area’s customary avalanche of mozzarella cheese. Instead, portions, while oversized for sure, are made with fresh ingredients with an emphasis on simple, delicious presentations without the need to cover it all with smoke and mirrors. The main attraction in the kitchen is what their website describes as “the first truly authentic Neapolitan Wood burning pizza oven in Monroe County.” The oven reportedly maintains an internal temperature of 1000 degrees, producing thin crust pizzas with inviting crispy charred dough. I myself didn’t try the pizza, opting instead to ordered the same entre on both of my visits (couldn’t help it), the “La tagliata alla griglia”; which is described as skirt steak marinated in balsamic vinaigrette, garlic, rosemary, grilled and served over masculine and topped with shaved parmigiano. A very large portion of tender meat that carried that delicious chard flavor from the wood burning oven. Wonderfully satisfying, and at only $18 it is one of the most expensive items on the menu. My brother had the special pizza on that day which, like all their pizzas, was served as an individual pie with its own pizza cutter on the side. I didn’t taste it, but when we returned 2 days later, he again went for the pizza special. Almost everybody else in our party of 7 ordered what we were told is their most popular dish; Pollo capriccioso. What is described as pan fried chicken cutlets, is actually two absolutely ginormous chicken breasts that are topped with fresh diced tomatoes and a less than overwhelming amount of smoked basil mozzarella, with a balsamic glaze and set atop a bed of arugula. Any attempt to convey just how large these two pieces of chicken are will only be seen as total exaggeration. Best to see (and taste) for yourself. The remainder of the menu consists of an assortment of pastas, antipasto, meats/chicken/seafood, and sandwiches, and a simple wine list. Overall, a very nice neighborhood spot for good Italian eats. Come once, and run the risk of becoming a regular.
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