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Jan 31

Viro’s Review

Tonight we went to Viro’s, which is close to our house. We had been there few times for desserts and pizza, and once before for dinner. Viro’s is an Italian deli with bread, pasta, take out, desserts, and gelato. We have been impressed by the quality and taste of the food that they make.

I ordered a Moretti beer and Erin ordered a Pellegrino to drink.  We then  ordered the Insalata Caprese, which came on a bed of chopped lettuce.  It was tasty and used the right kind of fresh mozzarella, with chopped basil.  The bed of lettuce, however, needs to go.  It was just a waste and detracted from the delightful flavors of the cheese, basil and tomatoes.

Before I continue with the review of the food itself, I want to comment on a few things about the service and atmosphere.  First, it is obvious that Viro’s is family owned, and that they are trying to transition to full restaurant status from a deli/lunch place.  The service is very bad.  Everything takes forever and the servers are, frankly, poorly managed.  If you want to go here (the food is worth it) expect the poor service.  The service is not malicious, they are nice and actually trying to do right by the customer, but the server’s just don’t know how to deal with a lot of customers.

The gelato was good, but the canoli, oh the canoli!

Second, I see a lot of potential in the atmosphere.  As a lunch place, the decor and atmosphere are fine.  It is a kitschy 80’s style, with plastic grapes, gaudy wallpaper, and Mediterranean style menus.  As a dinner place, however, the atmosphere fails.  The decor remains while the wait-staff is dressed formally, and the restaurant makes an obvious attempt at being an upscale/formal dinner experience.  Contributing to this clash of styles is the food presentation, which needs improvement.  The place needs to either  1) Run with the “home-style” theme and fully embrace it, or 2) Completely redesign the decor for a formal style.  If a good designer was allowed to change the decor and atmosphere for dinner, and the service improved to acceptable levels, this place would easily get 5 stars in my book.

Ok, back to the food!  Erin ordered the manicotti.  I ordered the ricotta spinach shells.  Both are baked dishes.  The portion sizes were just right, both Erin and I finished our portions without being overly full.  The ricotta had that hint of sweetness that went so well with the spinach and marinara.  It was excellent.  The manicotti was also to die for.  The fresh marinara was covered in a layer of melted mozzarella. Both dishes are Classic NY/NJ style Italian cuisine (Erin is from northern NJ, so this statement comes from authority).  For dessert we split a chocolate canoli with a scoop of rum coccrotti gelato.  The gelato was good, but the canoli, oh the canoli!  I think Viro’s has some of the best canolis that I have had, including the ones I had in NYC.  Viro’s has excellent desserts, except they make what I have come to name “Tucson eclairs.”

If you want excellent food but are willing to sacrifice some time and atmosphere, this is the place for you.  Viro’s is also reasonably priced.

The Verve Recommends:

  • Ricotta Spinach Shells
  • Baked Ziti
  • Manicotti
  • Any Dessert

The Verve Rating :[starreview tpl=16]

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