Feeling the need for an unpretentious Italian dinner this last Friday, my bride and I headed for Ybor City and the Spaghetti Warehouse. Their food reminds me of the long gone Maria's Italian Restaurant on West Shore Boulevard...a comfortable family dining experience.
It has been a year or so since we last dined at the warehouse and we were anxious to return since all of our past visits have been very pleasant and tasty...especially if you stick with the basics. Last night though proved to be a bit uneven, but the staff and management did try their best to smooth out the bumps in the road.
We started our evening by ordering a delightful bottle of Gabiano Chianti, a reasonably priced wine that pairs well with a simple pasta with marinara sauce. For an appetizer we split an order of bruschetta...small slices of toast with a very, very sparse dab of Roma tomatoes, garlic, and cheese. Next up was the ho-hum house salad. I say ho-hum because it is the same old boring mix of chopped tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. Oh, well!
For our entrées my dinner date chose the 15 layer lasagna while I went with the Trolley Stop - a grilled nine ounce sirloin with pasta and meat sauce. When our orders arrived, the lasagna looked an awful lot like the Chicken Parmesan with Manicotti. When informed that this was an incorrect order there was a bit of mumbling and the manager said something about a mix up and almost immediately brought out the correct order. We were told to keep both the chicken and the lasagna and enjoy left-overs the next day. Well, alright then...if you insist.
The lasagna was delicious and while I realize that I am about to blaspheme here, the steak was tender, juicy, and very flavorful...and, so much better than one I had a few weeks ago at Bern's Steakhouse. What is up with that? My pasta could have used a bit more of the meat sauce, but I was getting too full to bother requesting more.
Out total bill came to $55.61 and we added a 20% tip. Our server did try. We did not get charged for the extra entrée even though we were charged for the higher priced meal that we didn't order. Anyone can have a bad night, so I will have to assume this was just one of those nights.
Oh, the chicken with manicotti did make for a delicious lunch the next day.