Saturday, March 01, 2008

Verdile's, an old standby

Verdile's has been on my list of places to try, and we finally made it there last week. I was impressed by the spaciousness, the calm decor, and the crowd, obviously made up of long-term patrons. This is truly a family Italian restaurant. It's like an old pair of jeans: you can dress them up or down, making a meal at Verdile's into something casual or fancy, as you wish.

We were three, and although there were plenty of seats, it took them a while to seat us (although granted, we were waiting for our 3rd member for a while, too). While we waited we got to see that everyone who came in was warmly greeted and there was definitely a community feeling afoot.

We were hungry. They brought white bread. It was not warm. I was somewhat disappointed by this. We ordered a salad for two, which really covered all 3 of us nicely. Nothing unusual to report about the salad. Then came the main courses. I ordered fettucine alfredo with shrimp; my friend ordered regular fettucine alfredo. I figure, I never make anything this sinfully rich at home-- why not? If it's truly a family place, then their fettucine alfredo would show it. It was good-- I mean, how can anything with that much cream *not* be good?! The shrimp were fine, too. But again, no surprises here. The waiters wore tuxes, or tux-like outfits-- very formal. Yet there was the crumbly kind of parmesan on the table-- not real parmesan. I found this incongruous. It's sort of like having chef Boyardee on Wedgewood.

My husband got the manicotti, which I tried, and it was perfectly adequate. His portion was a normal-sized portion, whereas the fettucine gave me lunch the next day. We didn't have room for dessert. I gained 2 pounds from my fettucine. (Yes, I've been very weight-conscious lately, as I've been trying to lose some of my significant winter padding.)

Verdile's is located at 572 Second Ave., between 115 and 116th Streets, not far from the Snowman in the 'Burgh. These are their hours:
Mon-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm, Sun 12pm-9pm.

Great hours. Still, I don't think I'm going back there any time soon. The food just isn't interesting enough-- which is a problem I have with so many Italian restaurants here. Where are the healthy greens, the whole wheat crust breads, the many artisanal cheeses that could easily be sourced from NY State? Obviously the vast majority of the ingredients here are shipped in, highly industrialized. The food is formulaic, heavy (tons of veal), and you might as well travel back to 1955, which frankly, I do not care to do. I do understand the sentimental connections people have to places like this, though, and it's good to know that such a standby is still thriving.

1 comment:

Albany Jane said...

This is why I really like the Albany area food blogs! It’s impossible to go to every restaurant in the region, and posts like these can help weed out restaurants from the list. Verdile’s was on my border, but now I think I’ll take a pass on it – thanks!